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#482148 - 11/03/17 08:11 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
chunting Offline

Registered: 12/27/15
Posts: 26
Loc: North Louisiana
I needed to see if our fish were consuming the pellets at the volume I had the feeder set to dispense, so drove out to our place to observe the 8:00 AM feeding this morning. Normally I allow others to catch the fish and I measure and weigh the catch if needed, to determine which to keep and which to release. This morning I decided to catch some fish. Some days we catch and release more and some we keep more than we release. Out of six bluegills I kept four. We still have some of the original stocking of bass feeding on pellets and I've been trying to remove them. Today I got lucky and took one out. smile

A 16 inch female largemouth weighing 2.75 pounds.

I kept two female BGs that were twins, 8.25 inches, one weighing 8 oz and the other 7 oz.

One male BG from the original stocking that was lagging behind his classmates made the "eating" bucket at 8 inches and 8 ounces.

If you spend enough time messing with fish you will eventually encounter deformed ones. Most don't make it to adulthood but some do. This male has a deformed, shortened spine that produced a crooked and stubby tail. Its body is pretty circular and thick at 8 inches and 13 ounces, but the front end appears to be smaller than it should be. Anyway, its kinda funky and made the "eating" bucket.

The two male BGs caught and released were 9 inches plus and heavy, right at the 15/16 oz mark. If the BG is obviously a release fish, I rarely measure and weigh, except exceptionally large examples, to reduce stress.

So far this year I'm 100% on sexing those that made the "eating" bucket as verified with the fillet knife. smile

The fish had been on ice for a couple hours before I took these photos, so their colors had faded some and look splotchy.

We use the 6-8 inch slot as a guide on BGs and remove all bass 14 inches and up.

Edited by chunting (11/03/17 08:14 PM)

#482149 - 11/03/17 08:39 PM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
Bill D. Offline

Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5607
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Thanks for sharing the pics. Looks like your plan is working.

The first thing that struck me about the pic of your deformed BG was the tail with 3 lobes. I've definitely never seen that before. I think I would have released it. Whatever reason it survived seems to be working.

Edited by Bill D. (11/03/17 09:30 PM)
Edit Reason: Clarification

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

#482159 - 11/04/17 10:58 AM Re: Harvest guidelines for biggest bluegills. [Re: chunting]
snrub Offline

Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5165
Loc: SE Kansas
Originally Posted By: chunting
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.

I did a search and found "Grandmother's old pond" in case others are interested in connecting it to this thread.

I like the looks of that RES. But surprisingly I don't see any blood on his hands. grin

Edited by snrub (11/04/17 11:00 AM)

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