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#486178 - 02/15/18 10:42 PM How many catfish?
Jack Horn Offline


Registered: 07/30/17
Posts: 22
Loc: East Texas
I recently bought a place with a pond that is approx. 1/4 acre with an average depth of 5-6 feet with it being 8-10 feet deep in the deepest parts. It has BG, RES, and LMB in it. My goal is to have a good brim and catfish catching pond. I plan to fish the bass just about completely out as best I can. Maybe have a few for a novelty. It never had caffish in it before. I addedd 100 6 to 8 inch CC late this last summer. The pond will be fed. So, based off of the size depth and having a 1/4 acre pond with BG, RES, and CC in it, how many CC can I have. Again it will be fed on a regular basis for the growing season, or year round if need be, whatever the reccomendations are when I do more research. I did feed it starting when I put the CC in until it got cold. Basically just needing to know how many CC a 1/4 acre pond being fed can support if they are sharing it with brim. Thanks in advance for suggestions.

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#486185 - 02/16/18 07:15 AM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5580
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Hi Jack,

I would ask the question as "How many pounds of CC and brim can the pond support?" instead of how many fish. Example 100 two pound fish equals 200 one pound fish.

Will you be aerating? That will help water quality and increase the pond capacity. If aerating and feeding, I would not exceed 200 pounds in a 1/4 acre (800 pounds per acre).

Not a pro....just my 1 cent
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#486189 - 02/16/18 07:46 AM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
snrub Online   content


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4706
Loc: SE Kansas
I'm no expert but looks like you may have some conflicting goals.

It appears to me that removing too many LMB will reduce the predators needed to keep the BG numbers in check. But with only a quarter acre, perhaps you can keep BG numbers low enough by angling they don't stunt? You said you would be feeding (which will help with both BG and CC growth) so perhaps with heavy angling and removal of small BG it might work. The CC when they get bigger will help some, but I would be afraid of BG over population and ending up with a pond full of 4-5" BG.

The other concern is how big were the LMB when you added the CC? If they were pretty large, they may have eaten most of your CC fingerlings. You might not have the CC left in the pond you think.

Just some questions raised in my mind. The experts will have better suggestions.


Edited by snrub (02/16/18 08:00 AM)
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#486202 - 02/16/18 09:34 AM Re: How many catfish? [Re: snrub]
Jack Horn Offline


Registered: 07/30/17
Posts: 22
Loc: East Texas
Yeah my family eats alot of fish and there will be many many meals taken out of the pond each year. The pond will be fished in and fish taken out and eaten on a regular basis. I have only caught two LMB over 12 inches. I think they were introduced farily recently when I bought the place. They were a few bucket transfers from a nearby lake, it was never stocked with alot of them. The CC were 6 to 8 inches long when they were stocked.

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#486211 - 02/16/18 11:53 AM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
snrub Online   content


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4706
Loc: SE Kansas
You can raise a lot of CC quickly if feeding regularly good quality fish food. If you are going to push the fish production pretty hard, consider adding aeration. After food limitations, water quality will be your next potential problem.

Or like John F problem where he had some otters come in and wipe out his well fed CC crop. He had some tremendous CC growth in a small pond till the otters came along.


Edited by snrub (02/16/18 11:55 AM)
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#486218 - 02/16/18 02:49 PM Re: How many catfish? [Re: snrub]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1856
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Originally Posted By: snrub
You can raise a lot of CC quickly if feeding regularly good quality fish food. If you are going to push the fish production pretty hard, consider adding aeration. After food limitations, water quality will be your next potential problem.

Or like John F problem where he had some otters come in and wipe out his well fed CC crop. He had some tremendous CC growth in a small pond till the otters came along.


I had regular CC up to 5 pounds in the first 1/4 acre pond from an 8" start from September 2015 until summer 2017. We caught about 30 out of about 65 for the table, averaging about 3.3 pounds each. Last fall, beginning in October, otters made periodic raids which appear to have totally wiped out the CC, including my "pet" albinos up to 7 lbs, plus some of the big BG. I have two ponds, each about 1/4 acre. The second pond had about 50 CC up to about 1.75 pounds by November starting at 8" in March 2017. It appears to be wiped out also. Fed CC are fat, slow, and fairly tame. They get very sluggish in our 42 degree average waters of winter, becoming easy otter prey. In my case, an early and prolonged freeze over would have helped keep otters out, but we never get that here. I may never try to raise CC again, since it was mainly a waste of feed due to predation. I found a flathead catfish skeleton next to the neighbor's pond about 700 ft from mine on the opposite side of the creek that probably had otter predation also. That flathead was probably 20 pounds, judging from the size of the head and backbone.

The White River is a half mile away. With a feeder creek into the river being only about 350 feet behind the ponds, it is a likely path for the otters, which seem to come in mainly at night, and leave by daybreak. A neighbor got a picture at daybreak of one otter on my #2 pond bank with a CC in its mouth, maybe about 1.5 plus pounds. It looks in the picture to be about as big as an otter can get, maybe 35-40 pounds.
As I said in an earlier post, I cannot see the surface of my ponds from the house, only the tops of the dams. The neighbor can see them. The otter was very wary. She said it ran away with the CC when she moved the curtains on her window about 200 feet away.
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#486227 - 02/16/18 07:49 PM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5580
Loc: Boone County Illinois
John F,

You've been down this road with a similar sized pond. Did you aerate? How many pounds of CC would you recommend in a 1/4 acre without running into water quality issues?


Edited by Bill D. (02/16/18 07:51 PM)
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#486231 - 02/16/18 10:08 PM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1856
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Put in about 50 CC at about 8" in mid fall or very early spring. Feed to satiation. Start getting them out as they reach about two pounds. Here, that takes about one full season, maybe a little more. Remove at least half of them by the start of the second summer. Remove the rest as soon as you can catch them. Some will reach five pounds by late in the second summer. I put a few too many in my first 1/4 acre pond and didn't start catching them soon enough. I know better now.

I do not have aeration, but used a pump to put in fresh water at intervals, to keep the pond near full during warm weather. If the pond didn't leak some, I would not have had to pump as often. The "secret" if any, is don't let the pond go through hot weather at full bio load with CC. Get a lot of them out after they reach eating size, but before the second summer.
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#486235 - 02/17/18 07:51 AM Re: How many catfish? [Re: John Fitzgerald]
Jack Horn Offline


Registered: 07/30/17
Posts: 22
Loc: East Texas
I put 100 in late this last summer. I will be feeding as you already mentioned. I will have a nice fountain, I know a fountain is by far not normally a good choice if its purpose is aeration, but it was given to me as a gift and in a smaller pond I would think it would have to do at least some good. I will be trying to catch many of the ones I put in to get the numbers down. I put 100 to ensure some survive predation from a few LMB that are in there. The CC I put in were 6 to 8 inches so hopefully that was big enough. the LMB are mostly small and are being fished out as heavily as possible. This is my first pond and I am only about 5 months into it so any other advice is appreciated. As far as restocking after you began catching from the original 50, did you simply restock approx. what you harvested each year. or did you add a spawning area for the CC and remove enough to keep them from overpopulating?

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#486244 - 02/17/18 03:14 PM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1856
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
I had spawning culverts, but got no fingerlings, probably because of bluegill predation. BG will readily eat all the hatchlings as they leave the nest in a ball, as will small LMB. I have had bad predation from otters so restocking is probably not an option, at least not at this time. I have recently heard of otter problems around here where they come up an intermittent feeder creek a mile from the local rivers. I am closer than that. If you restock, I would suggest getting advanced size 11-12" CC to minimize bass predation. Those could be stocked in March and harvested in October at eating sizes.
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#486248 - 02/17/18 07:29 PM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13356
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Your question on how many? I figure about 30. If you get more than that you are pushing for an oxygen crash. John is right about restocking 11 to 12 inch ones.
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It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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#486255 - 02/18/18 01:10 AM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Dave Davidson1]
Jack Horn Offline


Registered: 07/30/17
Posts: 22
Loc: East Texas
You mean 30 as a starting point to let reproduce and remove as needed or total tongrow in the pond at any given time. Remember i am removing bass and using angling to control bg. Its going to mainly be a catfish pond. Some of these questions may seem dumb, but i am an extreme beginner to managing a pond

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#486262 - 02/18/18 10:11 AM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13356
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Hey Jack, we all started where you are. I consider myself not an expert but just a long term student of water holes with fish.

Channel cats do a very poor job of reproducing in ponds; especially smaller ones. It is exceedingly rare or maybe highly unusual for them to escape predation. Small CC's travel in schools and are very easily picked off. Forget reproduction on cats. BTW, 95% or more of the eggs laid by any fish do not result in a one year old. That's Mama Nature at work.

Removing bass by fishing is definitely needed. But, in a pond you can't catch them all. Heck, nobody can. They get hook shy.

Another thought about stocking density. 1/4 acre ponds might be 1/4 acre at the end of May but, by the end of Summer, will almost certainly be a lot smaller. Too many fish, at that time, can easily result in an oxygen crash with the larger fish dying first. Been there; done that more than once.

BTW, one of my ponds starts out at about 1/4 acre. By the end of Summer, it's a lot smaller and learning new steps for my rain dance hasn't worked. It has bluegills, green sunfish, about a dozen cats and supposedly some redears. In May of 2016, I added 25 cats at about 4 to 5 inches. Only about a dozen appear to be still living. I have to seine it every year about June and remove some bluegills and green sunfish. If I didn't, I would get an O2 crash. They get fed when I get there on weekends.

However, what you want can be done if you have a source of water to make up for evaporation. To do it right, you will need aeration. You should also eliminate all present fish by nuking the pond and starting over.



Edited by Dave Davidson1 (02/18/18 10:11 AM)
_________________________
It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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#486269 - 02/18/18 12:03 PM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1856
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Jack,
I made the mistake of over stocking my first CC pond. It is almost 1/3 acre when completely full, but drops to about 1/7 acre by mid fall. I had oxygen problems early in the second summer, which is why I suggested getting half your CC out by the end of the second spring. Raising 50 or so CC by heavy feeding is doable in a 1/4 acre pond, even unaerated, but the timing of stocking and harvest must be right.
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#486278 - 02/18/18 05:04 PM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
Jack Horn Offline


Registered: 07/30/17
Posts: 22
Loc: East Texas
So i just went and bought one of thosr walk behind distance measuring thingys. My pond is 1/2 acre not 1/4. ( Not good at estimating distance lol).8-10 feet at deepest. Average overall deph 5.5 ft

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#486283 - 02/18/18 07:08 PM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
catmandoo Offline
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Field Correspondent

Lunker

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 5680
Loc: Hampshire Co., WV
I don't check in much anymore because we won't own our ponds too much longer. And, I may not be a catfish expert, but I sure learned a lot about catfish in the last 15 years.

Several things I learned very early was that:

Channel catfish grow really fast. In just a few years, 4-5 inch channel cats can become 25-30 inch fish with minimal assistance from humans;

Channel catfish, especially those over 16-18 inches, become extremely hook shy. The larger they are, the longer their memory, and the more wary they are of eating things, and;

Once channel catfish get to about 16-18 inches, they become top-level predators. They begin to eat nearly anything and everything that swims or seems like food -- except for baits with a hook in them. They swarm during feeding time like big vacuum cleaners. The can consume large amounts of feed pellets in a very short time.

I typically put 10-20 4-5 inch channel cats into my two ponds (0.7 and 0.3 acres) in late spring or early summer after I can see what is in the ponds. Some years I don't put any in. We still have plenty for neighborhood fish frys and for ourselves.

Don't overstock!

Good luck,
Ken
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#486288 - 02/18/18 10:10 PM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13356
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Jack, a couple more things to consider. Only the top 4 to 5 ft of water are usable by the fish due to lack of sunlight penetration. The rest is a non oxygenated dead zone called the thermocline. The fish can go there but not stay. If your pond goes down about 3 ft due to summer evaporation, you will have lost about 1/2 of the ponds water. Thatís why we are warning you about proper stocking rates.
_________________________
It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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#486295 - 02/19/18 08:54 AM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5580
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Lots of good stuff on pond carrying capacity from the archives....

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92440#Post92440
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#486299 - 02/19/18 11:21 AM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
Jack Horn Offline


Registered: 07/30/17
Posts: 22
Loc: East Texas
Read alot of that stuff. So based off of talking to experienced people and reading multiple things, the general consensus is that 200 lbs of fish per acre in a fed pond is suitable. More if you aerate and make sure to feed enough to sustain everyone. Feeding now aeration to come. I am actually considering starting over based off of what I want my pond to be. A good family catching pond with an occasional treat of a big fish. So, to avoid having to do so much work on correcting improper stocking that was done, I am considering nuking the pond and restocking with hybrid BG, and CC. Possibly a small handful ( 5-10 ) hybrid stripers. I kind of want a nice fishery of brim and catfish with a few bass as kind of a novelty as I love watching a bass smash into a top water bait. If I went this route I could control the numbers in my pond better due to the CC and HSB not reproducing. The HBG I read are 95% male? If so, then they wont produce as much either. I can restock each year based off what I caught the previous year/ plan to harvest that year and not have as much of a worry about overcrowding and be kind of more in control? What are everyones opinions on this route? I know the few HSB will need food and the HBG wont produce much, but the pond will be fed efficiently and everything I have read so far says that HSB will tear pond feed up.

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#486303 - 02/19/18 11:36 AM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1856
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
If you have bass you will need to re-stock with advanced size CC of 11-12 inches to deter bass predation.
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#486304 - 02/19/18 11:54 AM Re: How many catfish? [Re: John Fitzgerald]
Jack Horn Offline


Registered: 07/30/17
Posts: 22
Loc: East Texas
One other thing I'll add is that we fish alot and we eat alot of fish. So if I stock more than recommended rates and feed them enough, time / coordinate everything right so that there are enough harvest size fish to take out to ensure the pond isn't too overcrowded when the low hot levels of late summer are here I could accomplish all my goals. Anyone else who is a fanatic when it comes to catching and eating lots of fish feel free to chime in how you balance everything out.

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#486322 - 02/19/18 05:16 PM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
Bill Cody Online   content
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12364
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
If you completely renovate your plan is sound. The only thing you have not considered is the CC once mature are very likely to reproduce for at least some recruitment. The HBG and HSB should control most of the small CC fry when and if they occur. Without LMB you should be able to sentimentally stock CC in the 4"-6" size group and have good survival rates.


Edited by Bill Cody (02/19/18 05:19 PM)
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#486324 - 02/19/18 05:37 PM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1856
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
We eat a lot of catfish too. After I caught 30 out last summer, they became very hook shy, then the big otter got in. I should have started catching them out in early May, instead of waiting until the first of June. Unless that otter goes away, won't be stocking CC. Hopefully, the pack of coyotes that hang around will get the otter when it is between ponds.

I have not had any CC recruitment that I can tell. I had to put a half dozen LMB in last summer to control an over population of small BG and FHM.
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#486326 - 02/19/18 06:26 PM Re: How many catfish? [Re: John Fitzgerald]
Jack Horn Offline


Registered: 07/30/17
Posts: 22
Loc: East Texas
Bill, won't the HSB and bigger CC's eat the smaller catfish fingerlings? Or not so much.

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#486330 - 02/19/18 07:51 PM Re: How many catfish? [Re: Jack Horn]
Bill Cody Online   content
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12364
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
IMO the 4"-6" CC stockers will not suffer significiant predation because if you are daily feeding pellets the HSB & larger CC will eat mostly pellets and fewer fish especially if you add pellets more frequently daily a few days prior and a few weeks post stocking the small CC - keep your predators well fed. If you want to be more conservative, then stock the next larger size 6"-8" CC size group; they are relatively cheap and you won't be adding enough to flatten your wallet each year. Plus the CC will inhabit a closer to the bottom area whereas the HSB will inhabit more in the open water areas. HSB and larger CC will have offspring of the HBG available as fish to eat. If by any chance you find out differently by all means come back to this thread and let us know what you are learning. Not a lot of members have that special fish combination for heavy harvest of the CC.


Edited by Bill Cody (02/19/18 07:54 PM)
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