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#481469 - 10/22/17 12:26 PM Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills.
chunting Offline


Registered: 12/27/15
Posts: 22
Loc: North Louisiana
We have a one acre plus pond that was renovated in fall of 2015 and stocked in late February 2016 with 50 largemouth, 800 coppernose bluegill, 200 redear and 10 pounds of flathead minnows from J. M. Malone and Sons in Arkansas. The bass did not spawn the first summer but both redear and coppernose did. I added another 60 bass caught in a relative's pond from 4-7 inches to aid in controlling the abundance of small bluegills. Our bass spawned this year, at least twice, based upon my observation of two different size classes of small bass.

We have fed a mix of AquaMax 500 and 600 pellets since early summer of 2016. During late summer this year we implemented harvest, using basic guidelines of bass over 14 inches and bluegill between 6 and 8 inches removed plus all green sunfish and hybrids removed regardless of size. Even with taking great care in removing all fish from the pond with Rotenone, we did get some green sunfish and hybrid migration back in during a 15 inch rain event from the intermittent stream our pond empties into. Even with a friend owning a pest control business, acquiring Rotenone "legally" was a real pain.

We caught, weighed and released our first coppernose in September this year that made 16 ounces. The bulk of our original stocking are from 8 inches to 9.75 inches.

A typical stocker I caught and released yesterday estimated at 9 inches plus and pushing the 16 ounce mark.



Other than a handful of deep hooked bluegills, we have not intentionally removed any over the 8 inch mark.

We have no idea how many of the original 800 coppernose survived to this point. The two daily feedings are well attended though. smile My question is this.

Where do we go from here in regards to harvest of our bluegills over 8 inches?

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#481471 - 10/22/17 01:16 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
Jim Wetzel Offline


Registered: 08/16/17
Posts: 338
Loc: Holts Summit, MO
Are you certain you stocked Coppernose Bluegill?
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Aquaculture
Cooperative Research / Extension
Lincoln University of Missouri

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#481476 - 10/22/17 03:03 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
chunting Offline


Registered: 12/27/15
Posts: 22
Loc: North Louisiana
Yes, I'm confidant we stocked coppernose. The fish at top looks like a large female to me. I didn't mean to infer it was representative of most of our bluegill.

Here is a typical male.









Edited by chunting (10/22/17 03:06 PM)

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#481477 - 10/22/17 03:17 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
ThePondDragon Offline


Registered: 08/10/15
Posts: 224
Loc: Wisconsin
Congrats on your fish they are huge! Why do you harvest the bass over 14 inches? If it were me I'd harvest a slot of 10-12ish inches. I think, as far as CNBG go, keep harvesting the slot you are and you can get away with taking out 5-10 giants. If you want just let them grow till they start breaking your rods!

For the most part the handful that are deep hooked will be plenty harvest. Just my 2 cents.
_________________________
0.7 acre pond stocked October 2016, LMB, BG/SF, CC.

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#481478 - 10/22/17 04:06 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4920
Loc: SE Kansas
Whatever you have been doing seems to be working. You have some great looking BG there.

I return everything over 8" and reduce the number in the 6-8" range. But I am fighting a loosing battle because the BG have become so thick I'm getting no LMB recruitment. I suspect they are eating all my LMB larvae and eggs and that was the first comment that came out of Bob Lusk mouth during his visit when I mentioned I could not catch any small LMB while fishing.

LMB are supposed to have such large spawns that eventually without intervention they take over the fishery, become too abundant, and you end up with numerous small LMB. That is what I wanted (a pan fish fishery) but the bass are not doing their job.

Hope you get some good advice from the experts. I'm not one of them.


Edited by snrub (10/22/17 04:07 PM)
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#481483 - 10/22/17 08:13 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12412
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Your goals for the type of fishery you want will determine how you harvest the fish. There are 3 basic goals for managing a fishery. 1. Numerous large or trophy BG-Sunfish with few smaller, medium ones, 2. Good numbers of large or bigger bass (6-10lbs), 3. General fishing where all sizes are caught with a few larger fish caught occasionally. It is tricky and requiring special intense management to try and have numerous larger panfish and numerous bigger bass and this is difficult to maintain long term 8-20yrs.

State your goals and we can better advise you about harvest.
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#481485 - 10/22/17 09:08 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
Jim Wetzel Offline


Registered: 08/16/17
Posts: 338
Loc: Holts Summit, MO
Second looks like a Coppernose from I seen in wild stocks of Georgia and South Carolina. The first first does not look pure Coppernose, nor does it look like a proper Northern.
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#481499 - 10/23/17 09:23 AM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
FireIsHot Offline
Moderator


Registered: 02/28/11
Posts: 3814
Loc: Emory TX
I can't comment on the pureness of the first fish, but as of 2 days ago, the colors are almost exactly what I'm seeing in my CNBG females. The body shape is a little more fusiform than mine, but I'm not sure that's a deal breaker.

Jim, I'm certainly not questioning your statement, but what are you seeing that I'm missing?
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#481503 - 10/23/17 10:58 AM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
BrianL Offline


Registered: 03/31/14
Posts: 766
Loc: Paris, TX
I have to make this decision soon. I guess I can go either way, big bluegill or big bass.......?
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1.8 acre pond with FHM(gone), CNBG, RES, HSB, and LMB
Trophy Hunter feeder.

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#481508 - 10/23/17 11:45 AM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: BrianL]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24028
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
In a roughly one acre pond, I'd vote for big bluegills. It will be easier to manage and you will have more catchable fish in there. If you manage for large bass, you will only have a relatively small number of large bass and they will become hook shy rather quickly.
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#481514 - 10/23/17 03:47 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: esshup]
anthropic Offline


Registered: 05/03/14
Posts: 1301
Loc: Louisiana, USA
Originally Posted By: esshup
In a roughly one acre pond, I'd vote for big bluegills. It will be easier to manage and you will have more catchable fish in there. If you manage for large bass, you will only have a relatively small number of large bass and they will become hook shy rather quickly.


No expert here, but I agree. LMB tend to naturally overpopulate & stop growing much, which is fine if your focus is on big BG. You aren't under pressure to keep taking out LMB in order to manage pond.


Edited by anthropic (10/23/17 03:48 PM)
_________________________
7 acre pond in east Texas, full pool reached March 2016. CNBG, RES, FHM stocked Nov 15; TP May 16; LSL bass 30 June 16. Added 100 12 inch N LMB and 1,000 shiners Oct 17, 150# TP and 70 HSB May 18




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#481515 - 10/23/17 03:56 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12412
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
I also agree with esshup and anthro. Numerous big BG and more frequent caught bass keeps angling interesting less boring especially for non-die-hard anglers. Use lighter tackle and smaller fish become more of a challenge. With this management style you can still use selective harvest to skew the size of the bass to bigger average sizes of 1 to 3 lbs.
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#481528 - 10/23/17 07:47 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5586
Loc: Boone County Illinois
My advice is a rule that comes from Bob L. Every pond has a limiting capacity and a balance. You need to harvest to maintain a healthy pond. For our pond, we are not trying to grow trophy anything. We try to grow "nice ones" of everything. We use harvest as a tool to help maintain balance. FWIW When we target a species for harvest, we remove one size class under the largest fish class.


Edited by Bill D. (10/23/17 08:09 PM)
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#481538 - 10/23/17 09:55 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: Bill D.]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4920
Loc: SE Kansas
That is pretty much my goal too Bill. When I or friends go to fish, I want us to catch numerous fish.

But then I am not a die hard angler that has already caught thousands of average size fish and is now looking for something more challenging. Maybe some day though. Four years ago I did not even care much about fishing. So who knows?
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#481558 - 10/24/17 09:05 AM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
TGW1 Offline


Registered: 09/19/14
Posts: 2361
Loc: Harrison Co. Texas
snrub, more challenging? I would think HSB for a pond like yours in Kansas. I do not know of a stronger fighting fish in a pond. Remember George, he convinced me to add some. I have not regretted adding them one bit. And I don't think they compete for the most part with my goals of growing large lmb. Yours will grow larger in Kansas than mine will here in E Texas. You can also hand feed them like you enjoy doing with your other fish. And I think they may control excess bg. Oh well, I just thought I would suggest them since wanting something more challenging. And sorry I missed you at the conference
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Thank The Good Lord the government in Washington DC gets little done.
Outlawing guns will make a lot of us down here in the South
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#481562 - 10/24/17 10:50 AM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
chunting Offline


Registered: 12/27/15
Posts: 22
Loc: North Louisiana
Most all our female coppernose are similar to the one I posted in the beginning. Lighting and angles and such in the photo taking process sometimes doesn't provide a good perspective. The bars on this fish are muted in the photo.

I posted the process in renovating our pond previously under "Renovating a Pond or Lake?," with a thread titled "Grandmother's old Pond," if interested. Our 18 acres, small three bedroom house, equipment shed and acre plus pond is being renovated and managed as a family recreation and gathering point. I'm the chief remodeler, grounds superintendent and pond manager. smile With that said, I'm retired and we live only 16 miles away, so I spend as much time as I need on the property tending to the pond and it's fish.

Our goal all along has been to manage for large bluegills, those over a pound. We have successfully moved many of the original stocking to the pound mark. We have second generation fish showing up in the 6-8 inch slot. We have begun to catch and release a few redears but they are well behind the coppernose size wise, which is understandable.



We stocked 800 coppernose. I have no idea their survival to this point. All I know is that our feeding periods are well attended and we are releasing more fish 8 inches and up than we are keeping from the 6-8 inch slot. To this point we have "generally" adhered to the 6-8 slot for bluegill and over 14" for bass, for eating fish. We keep all fish with a low percentage of survival. I monitor closely the condition of all our fish caught.

So, do we continue to keep with our current management while monitoring closely fish condition? Could we widen the slot to 8.5" or 9.0"?

Thanks to all who provide their ideas and experiences.







Edited by chunting (10/24/17 10:52 AM)

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#481563 - 10/24/17 11:03 AM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
ThePondDragon Offline


Registered: 08/10/15
Posts: 224
Loc: Wisconsin
IMO harvest smaller bass and once you catch the first 10 inch CNBG you should be good to widen the harvest to 8.5 inches. To me, 9 inches sounds too big you would be cutting into your breeder male stock.
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0.7 acre pond stocked October 2016, LMB, BG/SF, CC.

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#481973 - 10/31/17 05:26 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
Matzilla Offline


Registered: 08/12/16
Posts: 331
Loc: Iowa
There's no harm in focusing on harvesting 8+" females to increase carrying capacity, however. Does anyone specifically go after female BG for removal vs removing both males and females?
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1.25 acre southeast Iowa pond
LMB, BG, YP, WE, HSB, RES, BCP

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#481977 - 10/31/17 05:49 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: Matzilla]
sprkplug Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6945
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
Yep. Unless the female is exceptional, they do not get released.
_________________________
"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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#481978 - 10/31/17 06:32 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: sprkplug]
FireIsHot Offline
Moderator


Registered: 02/28/11
Posts: 3814
Loc: Emory TX
Originally Posted By: sprkplug
Yep. Unless the female is exceptional, they do not get released.

Tony, I smiled a little when I read this. George always told me to throw every female I caught over the back of the dam, but to make sure his wife didn't see me doing it. He knew he was getting near to end of life, and he only wanted trophies getting fed. I feel very fortunate to have been able to have spent a very small portion of his life with him.
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#481979 - 10/31/17 06:45 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
sprkplug Offline
Ambassador
Lunker

Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6945
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
I pitch mine over the dam also, Al. I dont know that it has much of an impact, but I still do it.

I Would've enjoyed meeting George.
_________________________
"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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#481980 - 10/31/17 07:02 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
FireIsHot Offline
Moderator


Registered: 02/28/11
Posts: 3814
Loc: Emory TX
I think you would have too. I was glad TJ finally got to spend a little time with him at the PB conference before last.
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AL

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#481987 - 10/31/17 09:11 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: Matzilla]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4920
Loc: SE Kansas
Originally Posted By: Matzilla
There's no harm in focusing on harvesting 8+" females to increase carrying capacity, however. Does anyone specifically go after female BG for removal vs removing both males and females?


I have been returning good looking males 8" and over and the rest in the 6-8" size go to the fillet cage. If a smaller male seems to have outstanding charastics I will return it and also all of my CNBG males because I have so few compared to the norther BG. Once in a while if I catch a really great looking large female I will return her to the water, but most get selected for table fare. I have too many BG anyway so have been trying to thin the herd.


Edited by snrub (10/31/17 09:14 PM)
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#481989 - 10/31/17 09:17 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
scott69 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 1015
Loc: Chambers county(Valley), alaba...
i have always removed every female i caught. but like myself and a few others talked about recently, i catch way more males than females. it is just hard for me to believe it is coincidence. i almost never catch a female here.
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#481993 - 10/31/17 10:21 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: scott69]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4920
Loc: SE Kansas
Does that make us fish misogynists laugh crazy


Edited by snrub (10/31/17 10:24 PM)
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