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#361701 - 01/02/14 03:04 PM What to harvest and when
snrub Online   content


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4916
Loc: SE Kansas
There are lots of posts about stocking and raising fish. But what and when do we harvest? Or more specifically, what CAN we harvest without damaging the fishery (for those wanting lots of table fare) and what do we NEED to harvest (for those more interested in catch & release) to maintain a balanced fishery.

Ok...Ok. I know the answer.............. "depends"...... crazy

So to get the discussion started, and to give a specific example (my own pond of course! smile ) here is the stocking information I posted in my new member profile back in October 2003. snrub new member post

In I think March or April 2013 we put in 750 fingerling BG that had a few RES mixed in along with FHM (forget how many pounds). The FHM reproduced fantastic and the BG biggest ones are around 5-6" this fall. Also have a bunch of new 3/4" to 2" BG so the original stock matured and spawned. Been hand feeding some floating and sinking catfish 32% pellets. About a half gallon a day lately. Not as much early on. (this is a 3.5 acre pond in SE Kansas)

A couple months (Sep 2013) ago stocked 350 CC and 350 LMB fingerlings. Amazing how fast those catfish grow with a little feed. Caught a couple and they had big fat bellies and about double original length already.

(note: the above is pretty much "by the book" stocking for Kansas ponds for a pond without supplemental feeding. I have given these fish some supplemental feeding on the advice of the person selling the fish, that they would grow better and reproduce in higher numbers. I think they have)

Everything additionally done below I did on my own initiative.

Then just a few weeks ago stocked some more RES, another 125 2-3" to add to the what was in the initial stock. For a new pond we had a tremendous crop of snails so I wanted to make sure we had adequate RES to keep them in check (Nov 2013).

In our renovated pond (about one acre) put 125 RES also and had caught 10 adult BG out of our new pond late summer and put them in. Not exactly sure what I'm going to ultimately do with that pond as far as fish go. I may catch a few LMB and put in to keep the BG from getting out of hand.


Ok, so this is what I have to date. Here is what information I have assumed that I would try to follow unless I get better information:
Regulating fish harvest in Kansas ponds

It has already been suggested by ewest that I start harvesting CC at 2 lbs or they could become a problem. I would like to start taking some BG out next summer to stock some adult BG in some of the ponds I have been renovating for my kids. Maybe a few BG and CC to eat. If I take a few BG out is that going to hurt my forage base in the long run?

What can I look forward to as far as harvest? What should I avoid doing? The above Kansas article talks about catch and release for the first three years, then having slot limits.

Would like to hear suggestions for my own benefit as well as for all the other members that have also been stocking new ponds.


Edited by snrub (01/02/14 05:27 PM)
Edit Reason: clarification
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#361706 - 01/02/14 04:27 PM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: snrub]
snrub Online   content


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4916
Loc: SE Kansas
As far as the fish harvest recomendation in the KDWPT document I linked to, I'll probably try following the "All Purpose" recomendation unless I get better advice.
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#361891 - 01/04/14 07:44 PM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: snrub]
fish n chips Offline


Registered: 09/06/11
Posts: 2315
Loc: Northeast Ohio
Wow snrub, it's tough. I have wondered similar things from the get-go myself. I still don't understand it all either. As you said, that phrase "it all depends" comes in. I wanted to know specifics when I started out, but there are just to many variables, and each of those variables can change from year to year, changing the outcome of each years fish potential. From what I have read during the few short years here, each pond has to be considered individually. There are so many factors that can influence a pond's life cycle.

It seems like an important factor of knowing what to harvest, when to harvest, and how much, is keeping good records of the weights and numbers of fish caught. That, and the other ways to measure the fish conditions, sizes, and populations. With that info the pros here can guide you to what will be best for you. There was a very similar question as yours not to long ago, possibly by Lovinliving?

I think it might have been outdoorlivn I was thinking of:
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=347182#Post347182






Edited by fish n chips (01/04/14 07:52 PM)

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#361897 - 01/04/14 10:34 PM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: fish n chips]
snrub Online   content


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4916
Loc: SE Kansas
Good thread link, thanks.

There is SO much info in old threads............... but wading through it all to get at what a person wants is daunting.

I knew when I posted it was a mighty big question (multiple really) and a rather long post, which is always difficult to get people to read. I was hoping at least some stabs at answers would be made and the link I gave of the state of Kansas publication would give a point of beginning.

It would probably take a book length reply to really answer my question and so maybe I ask too much at once.
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#361898 - 01/04/14 11:11 PM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: snrub]
JamesBryan Offline


Registered: 07/11/11
Posts: 475
Loc: N.W. Missouri
Eat, Drink, and be Merry. For tomorrow you may be dead. CC, are cheap and easy to grow. Eat the hell out of them. BG? Eat a few. Put things into perspective...you have a pond, and put fish in them....for what reason? I'm not trying to come across as harsh smile many times we lose perspective of what in the hell we were trying to accomplish in the first place. I have been guilty of this myself. I wanted Walleye. I put walleye in. I started catching nice Walleye. I started putting nice Walleye back, being concerned of my "fishery". I remembered, I put Walleye in my pond so I could eat Walleye. I started eating walleye. They taste REAL GOOD. The fish farm has more to buy, and I can replace what I remove. Tomorrow, my son is coming to visit, and we are eating walleye!








Edited by JamesBryan (01/04/14 11:18 PM)
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#361906 - 01/05/14 12:02 AM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: JamesBryan]
snrub Online   content


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4916
Loc: SE Kansas
Originally Posted By: JamesBryan
Eat, Drink, and be Merry. For tomorrow you may be dead.


A man after my own thinking.

I have a son-in-law that went in the hospital a couple weeks ago. 50 years old. Lukemia, went from not looking so bad to being in an induced coma with tubes out every orfice and machines to breathe and clense his blood. Doesn't look promising for him.

So your words ring true to me today especially.

Picture below how I strive to do just what you suggest.

Have just found this older thread that may have some answers for me also.

Fish Population and size analysis

It is not so much for me about having the perfect fishery to date at least. I have never been much interested in fishing. For me it is more the joy of learning something new and something new to be interested in. Maybe when I get too decripid to scuba dive in warm crystal clear tropical waters, fishing will be more apealing. So I am getting a head start so my fishery will be ready when I am ready to fish. I have been watching fish under water for about 45 years.

In the mean time, I have a number of grandkids and employees that like to fish, so the pond will get use while waiting for me to "get the urge". For me it is more about the project than the actual fishing. If that makes any sense.


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#361916 - 01/05/14 07:56 AM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: snrub]
fish n chips Offline


Registered: 09/06/11
Posts: 2315
Loc: Northeast Ohio
Snrub, that is a good reference ewest put together. He referred me to that one awhile back and there was another thread in his referals. It is included in a question I brought up and is located HERE.

Anyway, JB brings up good points and like you I like the planning and doing probably more than the end result. I have been surprised many times along the way by things that happened by chance, and I have been really glad these unexpected situations occurred. It lets me learn and experience even more stuff.

I think your original post above is a fair gauge of what most new pond owners feel. There is just so much to know and learn. Any book or guidelines that one may follow can never take into account all the variables that nature can throw at you. You can learn from them, but you have to apply what fits to your needs. Much like EVERY SINGLE thread here on the forum. So much to learn from each one(well, almost every one wink ), it may not apply to your situation right now, but down the road it may. But the forum is great, because you can give detailed descriptions of your very specific situation and the pros here can help you out. You can't get that in a book!!!

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#361920 - 01/05/14 08:54 AM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: snrub]
ewest Offline
Moderator
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Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19407
Loc: Miss.
Sorry I am late to this very good discussion.

I would add that of all the management things we as pond owners do ,we do harvest management the worst. Harvest is a key and very much needed tool. One reason its hard to have clear easy guidelines is that the productive ability of every pond is different. I have seen small waters have a productive capacity anywhere from 35 lbs per acre of standing stock to over 3000 lbs per acre. Another consideration is the mix of species in the pond and where each population is on the life history scale (none to all adults and different ages). Condition of the fish as a whole is also a factor.

As was stated " it depends" but common sense guides are available.


Edited by ewest (12/15/17 10:46 AM)
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#361925 - 01/05/14 09:50 AM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: snrub]
sprkplug Offline
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Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6945
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
I struggle with this also. I would add that one of the most disappointing things I have encountered while managing my ponds would be the discovery of dead fish.....trophy individuals, caught and released just a few days earlier, so they might continue to grow.

We talk a lot about harvest being necessary due to an expanding population and an increasing biomass, but I have to remind myself that while their growth may be indeterminate, their lifespans are still finite. Fish grow old, and along with advanced age comes the reduced ability to bounce back, and recover from the stress of being caught. Certainly there are other factors in play also, such as the species in question or the environmental conditions and handling procedures encountered while being caught and released, but speaking in general terms fish may get weaker as they age.

We want trophy fish, so the typical procedure is to always release, never keep. Let them continue to grow. But it serves no purpose to release that fish, only to find it belly up a short time later.

I can attest as to the frustration it brings.

_________________________
"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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#361928 - 01/05/14 10:13 AM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: snrub]
CMM Offline


Registered: 10/07/12
Posts: 619
Loc: West Central MO
snrub, something that can help you get an objective look at what to keep and what to release might be to keep details length, species, and weight (or wr) on the fish you catch. I use a spread sheet to track all that (and a few other things) so I can keep an eye on what my population looks like. My second biggest fear (after a dam blowout) is having a pond full of stunted fish. I cull small bass like crazy in this lake where I focus on l, they were stocked 5 years ago. Your stocking is a few years newer than mine, but it is never too early to keep records smile

Another option that may be useful later is to have an electro shock survey done to get an idea of your fishy population. Then you can move on to what you need to do to reach the goals you have set.

All that being said, enjoy the pond, enjoy sharing it with others, and enjoy eating those tasty fillets. People on this forum have proved that what was previously though unlikely or even impossible, can be done!

CMM

CMM
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#361944 - 01/05/14 12:44 PM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: snrub]
fish n chips Offline


Registered: 09/06/11
Posts: 2315
Loc: Northeast Ohio
Snrub, here is a post that you might find interesting. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Main=24310&Number=305634#Post305634

It's a bit of a different way to see amounts harvested. I should update it. Since then, I can give my own accounts from the pond.

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#361948 - 01/05/14 01:16 PM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: snrub]
CMM Offline


Registered: 10/07/12
Posts: 619
Loc: West Central MO
Fish n chips, Thanks for posting that link, I had missed that one. Great usable info on how people use their ponds for food and how much they take out.

CMM
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#361957 - 01/05/14 03:53 PM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: fish n chips]
snrub Online   content


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4916
Loc: SE Kansas
Fish n Chips, I think some of those posts (I read the whole thread just now) are probably going to reflect more the way I will harvest. The reality of it is, it likely will be very much "hit and miss".

We might have up to 10-15 people fish the 3.5 acre pond on and off, and my guess is most of them will catch and release, but I would guess at least a few will eat some. I know my wife and are going to try to and her parents love pond fish so surely some of what we catch will end up there.

What I do hope to do at least, is put a log at the pond so anyone fishing there (and it is a limited group) will at least write down the species and the length. If they happen to weigh them that too. Also if they were released or kept.

That at least should give me rudimentary handle on what the population looks like. We will see how long my enthusiasm lasts for pond management. I figure it is a lot better to use some simple system that will actually be used than some esoteric fancy record keeping system that everyone will "forget" to do when they catch fish.

Thanks for the link. It was a good one. Sending it to my son too, as they do a lot of their own food via garden and game as well as fish out of the creek. The pond I just renovated for them will get stocked from my pond next year. They like to fish and eat fish, so I know they will be interested in what they can expect out of their new pond.
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#484142 - 12/15/17 08:13 AM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: CMM]
snrub Online   content


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4916
Loc: SE Kansas
In addition to fish n chips thread linked above, here are a couple free Pond Boss articles.

what to harvest and what to release by Bob Lusk

selective harvest Ray Scott style

Having harvested over 400 6-8" BG along and a few other GSF and HBG to try and thin out what I believe was getting to be an over crowded BG situation in my 3 acre pond, (never catch any small LMB indicating the BG were destroying any LMB recruitment) I was reviewing what literature was out there to see if what I did was good or bad. Having looked these articles up in the Free Articles area of this web site, thought I would share the links and revive this thread.

fish n chips thread link for anyone that missed it above


Edited by snrub (12/15/17 08:19 AM)
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#484155 - 12/15/17 10:54 AM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: snrub]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19407
Loc: Miss.
There are many types of ponds represented on PB so harvest is highly dependent but is necessary. With different species and different locations there are many right and wrong answers. With this warning see below from an old thread as to LMB.



Relative condition rules everything else. Trouble is with it (condition or RW) you are looking at a snapshot in time. The key is to anticipate what is next - and that is not an easy task. The creator of condition indices - PSD which gives you a better pic of what is to come (Dr. Anderson) gave the following example.

See this thread - http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=426550#Post426550
For LMB

This is what is suggested by Dick Anderson - the Prof who wrote the book on PSD.

Keep taking <12 in bass until the number 8-12 equals number 12-15. Ideal pond structure is 40% 8-12, 40% 12-15 and 20% 15+

This assumes good fish condition.

Another suggestion is take out all the fish in poor condition in all size groups. Note the size group that is stunted (over crowded) will have a much higher % of fish in poor condition.

Fisheries science early on (Dr. Homer Swingle the godfather of the subject)learned that you can get a pic of what is going on with a species by looking at the status of its forage. What this means is you can verify RW , condition and size distribution results by looking at BG/tilapia/shad etc. results. For example with BG if you are missing/short on 5 inch BG but have lots of 8-10 inch and 2-3 inch then you likely have to many 14-16 inch LMB. If that corresponds with low RW on that size LMB (14-16) you have confirmation of your problem. Another example of why you look at whole population numbers PSD is to early on curtail future problems. If you have for example 75% in number of your LMB population by electroshock survey being 10 inch healthy LMB then you are out of PSD balance and will have a problem in the future as they will over eat their size forage. So cull to meet the % Anderson provided above from the worse conditioned fish in that size strata as well.



Edited by FireIsHot (12/15/17 01:30 PM)
Edit Reason: Update Link
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#484157 - 12/15/17 11:20 AM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: ewest]
snrub Online   content


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4916
Loc: SE Kansas
Thanks for that input. As a goal of panfish fishery, that is what I am looking forward to having to manage - an overcrowded LMB situation. But what I have ended up with to date is leaning more towards a LMB trophy pond with few larger fish.

Although I did no relative weight checks on the BG we filleted, I would call most of them in good but not fat body condition. Once in a while I would run across a skinny one and you could sure tell it in the fillet yield. I feed about 3# per acre per day of AQ MVP so I think that is what has keept so many in the 6-8" size class in relative good condition.

I was just trying to stay ahead of the game as I did not see how so many in that size class could continue to have enough feed outside me increasing the pelleted feed. In the past when I was feeding more than I am now it compromised water quality because of my lack of flow through water during summer months. So I did not really want to increase feed rates. Not to mention the additional cost and we can only eat and give away so much fish. grin

Thanks for the link to the other thread.


Edited by snrub (12/15/17 07:53 PM)
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#484184 - 12/15/17 09:51 PM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: snrub]
ewest Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19407
Loc: Miss.
If I understand correctly then you should harvest BG in the size class where you think there are too many BG competing for food. That plus some LMB of the size that would also crop them should leave you with advanced size BG with enough food for them to reach goal size. Harvest the worst conditions BG in that size class. Do not harvest your biggest best conditioned male BG.
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#484188 - 12/15/17 10:24 PM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: ewest]
snrub Online   content


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4916
Loc: SE Kansas
I returned all good condition BG over 8" in length to the pond, only culling them if they had a blind eye or some other quality issue. I also returned some males that were smaller than 8" if they had what looked like exceptional genetics.

As far as I can tell from visual observation at feeding time, the 6-8" class is the only size that seemed to be getting over populated.

I just put 100 4-6" LMB in my sediment pond to grow them to about a foot length. Then I will catch as many as I can next fall and transfer to the main pond to give me another size class of bass that is missing. Hopefully by removing the excess biomass of 6-8" BG my existing adult LMB will have a successful spawn this spring for 2018 fingerlings. If all that goes to plan, then maybe the pond will be on track again.

It has been good enough fishing for the type of fishing I like, but I could see it was in the process of getting unbalanced with too many medium sized BG. Trying to stay proactive, ahead of the game.


Edited by snrub (12/15/17 10:30 PM)
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#484247 - 12/18/17 11:27 AM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: snrub]
BrianL Offline


Registered: 03/31/14
Posts: 766
Loc: Paris, TX
One thing you might think about is doing a shock survey every 2 or 3 years and use this as a way to target and harvest the larger bass you can't easily catch and get a better picture of where you are at.
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1.8 acre pond with FHM(gone), CNBG, RES, HSB, and LMB
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#484255 - 12/18/17 12:39 PM Re: What to harvest and when [Re: BrianL]
snrub Online   content


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4916
Loc: SE Kansas
That is a great idea, and if I were that serious about this hobby that would be a definite step. But it likely will not get done.

The process and learning is as much enjoyment as the fishing for me. In that respect I lean more towards the John Monroe doctrine of letting the pond evolve and see what happens. Not near to the degree John does mind you, but since I really only started any significant amount of fishing four years ago, fishing or the fish I catch is not my primary passion.

So I do not approach the fish raising with such specific defined goals as pondmeisters that are serious die hard anglers. If I produce a trophy fishing spot, it will be as much by accident as design. I spend more time feeding my fish (by hand) than actually fishing for them. Die hard anglers would approach it differently. My main goal is to enjoy the pond as a whole. I would rather spend a week on the road with my motorcycle for what a fish survey would cost for the benefit I would recieve. I'm just not dedicated enough to my fishery.


Edited by snrub (12/18/17 12:40 PM)
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