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#490081 - 05/15/18 08:17 AM BG - Which gets bigger, male or female
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 277
Loc: Louisiana
I have decided that my pond will be primarily a BG habitat and my goal is to eventually be able to harvest fish in the 9-10 inch range. I've began removing as many BHCF as I can catch and trap. The GSF that I've got will get thinned hopefully with the addition of a few LMB and I plan to get a single FHCF to put in to assist.

Realizing the predators will also be affecting the BG population, I've been bucket stocking fish no smaller than 4 inches. The harvest plan is to take out as many females and subclass males as I catch, leaving the big bulls intact.

I've gotten a fairly good idea on how to distinguish male from female, but was wondering if like LMB, do female BG tend to be the larger of the two sexes?
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.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, FHM, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia and apparently, now crappie.

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#490086 - 05/15/18 09:20 AM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
FireIsHot Offline
Moderator


Registered: 02/28/11
Posts: 3811
Loc: Emory TX
The males are the biggest. I've caught female BG that were over 10" long, and unless gravid, they also weighed less than the same sized males.
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#490091 - 05/15/18 10:17 AM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 277
Loc: Louisiana
That's kinda what I thought after doing a lot of reading. Length but no comparative weight. So I'd be potentially feeding fish that would never really measure up, except genetically to produce more bigger males.

That being said, would my cull plan be correct in removing all but the dominant males and females once they've started topping out? (The plan is to start culling next year, releasing any males over 5 inches) I am feeding Game Fish Chow at the moment as its what is readily available. And if so, at what ratio should I try to maintain that m/f balance?

Also considering that with a well established GSF already in place, I'm likely to have HBG in the mix down the road, what's their potential growth?

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#490095 - 05/15/18 10:54 AM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19407
Loc: Miss.
HBG can get big - like male BG. As the HBG are caught remove them and any GSF. FH cats are not suggested as they are not gape limited and can eat any size LMB and BG. Big FH will target big BG. If you use one or more FH cats then remove them before 10 lbs.

North American Journal of Fisheries Management
Article: pp. 198–202

Gape:Body Size Relationship of Flathead Catfish
Joe E. Slaughter IVa,,1 and Brad Jacobsonb
a) Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, 2065 U.S. Highway 278 SE, Social Circle, Georgia 30025, USA
b) Arizona Game and Fish Department, Region IV, 9140 East 28th Street, Yuma, Arizona 85365, USA

Abstract.

The flathead catfish Pylodictis olivaris is a highly piscivorous ictalurid native to central North America whose range has been extended throughout much of the United States. With this range expansion, many populations of native fishes have experienced declines in the number of individuals due to direct predation by flathead catfish. Previous evidence suggests that flathead catfish are opportunistic feeders and may be the least gape limited of North American freshwater piscivores. To better understand the size of prey vulnerable to flathead catfish, we measured gape dimensions for individuals of various sizes to determine the maximum size prey a flathead catfish can kill based on its gape limitations. Our results show the relationship of total length to horizontal and vertical gape and the relationship of flathead catfish total length to the total lengths of ingestible-sized prey of different body shapes. Furthermore, comparisons of the body depth of three common fish species to the gape dimensions showed that no size of largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides, bluegill Lepomis macrochirus, or gizzard shad Dorosoma cepedianum would preclude predation by flathead catfish. Our results support the assumption that the flathead catfish is one of the least gape-limited piscivores.


Edited by ewest (05/15/18 10:57 AM)
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#490099 - 05/15/18 11:34 AM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1992
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
I have too many BG coming to feed in the 5-6" range.

My biggest LMB is about 14" and there is another about 12".

I have been thinking of getting a couple of FH catfish in the two pound range if I can catch them. There are simply too many BG mouths to feed, and all my big CC were caught by otters last winter.

The otters didn't seem to prey on many BG or LMB. The FH probably would not survive the winter time otter attacks. The otters got about a 20# FH from a neighbor's pond. I saw the stripped carcass.
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#490103 - 05/15/18 12:40 PM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 277
Loc: Louisiana
My 1/4 acre pond is completely surrounded by fence and is only about 50 feet from my front door. If that weren't deterrent enough for any otters (and we do have a few around), I think the Mastiff, Lab and Char Pei that have run of the property would discourage them from staying very long.

I have a couple of commercial catfishermen friends that I believe would do some horse trading (live Bullhead for a small flathead) so acquisition shouldnt be an issue. Im thinking about 5 LMB would put a dent in the BG/GSF recruitment and when they get big enough to start impacting my big fish... well you know 🤣
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, FHM, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia and apparently, now crappie.

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#490104 - 05/15/18 12:52 PM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 277
Loc: Louisiana
Hey Ewest, I didn't see your post until after I had replied.

I see your point. That's OK. I'm sure I can get my hands on either CC or BC for the same trade. Recruitment may be possible tho as I have 6 14"×4' concrete culvert getting deployed in the pond soon. Just gonna roll them in off the bank, they will probably roll all way to the bottom as the sides are pretty steep and it's 12' deep. Don't know if they'll spawn that deep or not. But the aerator will definitely make that depth livable.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, FHM, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia and apparently, now crappie.

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#490113 - 05/15/18 04:33 PM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19407
Loc: Miss.
You can use a FH or Blue Cat its just that you have to be ready to deal with the situation. Big FH or BC will eat a lot of BG and LMB. Might be easier to use 1 FH or Blue and then take them out rater than fight CC reproduction. Not many CC offspring should survive if you have LMB in the pond.


Edited by ewest (05/15/18 04:35 PM)
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#490114 - 05/15/18 05:01 PM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
FireIsHot Offline
Moderator


Registered: 02/28/11
Posts: 3811
Loc: Emory TX
Eric, the one blue cat option is what George did in his small pond. He managed his big pond by hook and line, but the small pond got very little pressure so the BC kept the CNBG numbers in check.


Edited by FireIsHot (05/15/18 05:04 PM)
Edit Reason: sp
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#490117 - 05/15/18 05:50 PM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1992
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Mike,
Why don't you tie nylon ropes onto the culverts and stake them to the bank? That's what I did with a couple that I put in after fill. Let them roll into about 5' of water and stop.
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#490126 - 05/15/18 06:54 PM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 277
Loc: Louisiana
I hadn't thought of that, John, but that's very doable. Did you tie around the diameter of the pipe or pass through the length. I'm thinking if around the diameter closer to one end, it would allow the culvert to turn a little to point down hill. Or would it be better to have it stay parallel?

Catfish or not, those culverts will be good cover and hard structure.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, FHM, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia and apparently, now crappie.

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#490129 - 05/15/18 07:06 PM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 277
Loc: Louisiana
I've also got access to several plastic shipping pallets that have solid surfaces that I'm considering turning into bedding platforms. Putting a 3 inch edge around the sides, adding legs to two corners and placing them 2-3 feet deep so they rest relatively level and filling with peagravel. My available spawning area is pretty limited so I want to give them as much playground as I can.

Do you think the void created underneath would be too much of an ambush spot for any predators? The frey would be able to get into the grasses growing around the edge for a little cover. (Thats if we get some rain. Three weeks with no rain so the pond is down about 6 inches.)
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, FHM, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia and apparently, now crappie.

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#490130 - 05/15/18 07:14 PM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 277
Loc: Louisiana
One more thought, more on track of this threads origin. Has anyone ever used a Bowfin (Choupique, mudfish, grinnel) as a predator fish? They are very aggressive and toothy, but their gape isn't near what a catfish or bass would be so may limit them to what size forage they can consume. Most people think their ugly, but I kinda see a beauty in their primitiveness. And they get BIG!!!

I can catch a bushel basket of them suckers in an afternoon.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, FHM, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia and apparently, now crappie.

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#490136 - 05/15/18 11:02 PM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 277
Loc: Louisiana
Can anyone tell me what the Male to Female ratio should be when trying to balance a BG population? If I'm returning only the biggest more dominant bulls, should I be removing ALL females and subordinants that are caught or just the smaller ones? Seems if I taking all the smaller biters, i would be taking potential food away from the predators.


Edited by Mike Whatley (05/15/18 11:03 PM)
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, FHM, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia and apparently, now crappie.

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#490137 - 05/16/18 12:03 AM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
Pat Williamson Offline


Registered: 08/08/14
Posts: 2348
Loc: Oakwood,Texas
John I think that you answered your own dilemma.... put a 50 # flat head cat in your pond to eat the otters..... wouldn’t that surprise them....

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#490298 - 05/18/18 07:49 PM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 277
Loc: Louisiana
Something strange happened today while I was feeding. First, I know I have BHC. I've caught several and have seen many more in small schools, but have yet to see any come to the feed. The GSF/BG did their normal thing, frenzy to start then calmer feeding as they picked off the sinkers. Visibility is over 24 inches at the moment and you could see them clearly. Fish from small frey up to 5 inches chacing around from pellet to pellet.

Now the strange thing. About 5 minutes after I had thrown the feed out, I was standing back watching them and suddenly a cloud of tiny bubbles the size of a car door window fizzled to the surface, but no sign of what created them. The area they rose out of is about 10 feet deep.

Could this have been Bullhead?
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, FHM, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia and apparently, now crappie.

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#490301 - 05/18/18 08:46 PM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 277
Loc: Louisiana
On another note...I built a couple clover leaf traps today, using an orange juice bottle filled with dry dog food for bait. I hoped to just catch a couple of fish with a short soak, just a test so to speak. After about an hour (I only deployed one trap in a corner that had just gotten first shade) I pulled it up and was amazed at what it caught. There were 18 sunfish of different species. I expected GSF and possibly a pumpkinseed or maybe one of the larger BG I stocked last week (which were present), but the majority were BG! From 4 inches long to 1 1/2. A Redbreast about 3", a Warmouth fry, and a Redear fry! I figured the flood probably deposited a bunch of BHC and GSF, but apparently the BG, Warmouth and Shellcrackers swam in too. A second soak in a different spot for 30 minutes resulted in about 12 fish, mostly BG again. Sadly, no more Shell Crackers. It appears the BG prefer to hang out deeper as I had no idea they were there in those numbers.

What's a man to do? How do you manage a pond with this diversity? Without a doubt, I gotta get me some predators in there pretty soon.


Edited by Mike Whatley (05/18/18 08:51 PM)
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, FHM, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia and apparently, now crappie.

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#490302 - 05/18/18 09:02 PM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
Bill Cody Offline
Moderator
Ambassador
Field Correspondent

Lunker

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12412
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Largemouth in the size range of 4"-6" and some 7"-9" are your go to predators for that current group of forage fish.
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#490312 - 05/19/18 05:37 AM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13486
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
I have to check traps every 15 to 20 minutes or they escape. Try it.
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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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#490313 - 05/19/18 07:14 AM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 277
Loc: Louisiana
Bill,
In your opinion, how many LMB should I look into stocking. My plan was to get my hands on five 12" fish. Now that we've passed their primary spawning season, I figured it would be next spring before they tried to spawn again. I realize there's the possibility of a later spawn this year, but was thinking the transplant activity would likely deter that for this year. That size LMB would be able feed on anything up to about 3" long.

Again, it's a 1/4 acre pond, sandy clay bottom, nothing to speak of for cover at the moment and 12 foot deep. Due to the lack of rain, it's down about a foot from full pool.

Thanks again.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, FHM, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia and apparently, now crappie.

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#490314 - 05/19/18 08:38 AM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
Pat Williamson Offline


Registered: 08/08/14
Posts: 2348
Loc: Oakwood,Texas
Mike
I have had the same thing happen in my pond when feeding , a bunch of bubbles coming up off the bottom..... turned out to be catfish rummaging around in the bottom for pellets.

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#490324 - 05/19/18 02:29 PM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 277
Loc: Louisiana
That's what I was thinking, but from what I'd read here and elsewhere, BHC will typically muscle out other fish when feed is thrown, and so far I haven't seen any come to the feed when I throw it. Something inside me was dreading the thought of a monster FHC or gator (I've had a couple of little guys wonder in, but they didn't stay long). Like I said, the apron of bubbles was rather large. Since the Harvey flood, there's no telling what may be lurking down there.


Edited by Mike Whatley (05/19/18 02:32 PM)
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, FHM, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia and apparently, now crappie.

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#490326 - 05/19/18 04:21 PM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1992
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Originally Posted By: Mike Whatley
I hadn't thought of that, John, but that's very doable. Did you tie around the diameter of the pipe or pass through the length. I'm thinking if around the diameter closer to one end, it would allow the culvert to turn a little to point down hill. Or would it be better to have it stay parallel?

Catfish or not, those culverts will be good cover and hard structure.


Passed through the length.
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#490341 - 05/19/18 11:25 PM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: John Fitzgerald]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 277
Loc: Louisiana
Thats the way I envisioned it being done, but either way would work, I think. My research on catfish spawning areas often say to put the open end of a tube facing deep water with the closed end uphill, but since these are open ended I can't see where it would be any more beneficial than parallel to the bank. Whether I put CC in or not, they'll still make for good habitat.

Thanks for getting back to me, John. I really appreciate it.


Edited by Mike Whatley (05/19/18 11:26 PM)
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, FHM, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia and apparently, now crappie.

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#490372 - 05/20/18 08:10 PM Re: BG - Which gets bigger, male or female [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 277
Loc: Louisiana
Today my pond has a new resident. A nice little 10" LMB. I was hoping to have a couple more but they just weren't cooperating today and I had a heck of a time with the bowfin....dang they can fight. Anyway, it's got full run of of the joint for now, and those little BG, BHC and GSF better be on their best behaviour! I doubt it'll stay single long, but a couple more it's size should really help get things in shape. I'm hoping the Warmouth, larger GSF and BG take care of the smallest forage and the LMB will take on those 2-3 inchers and as it grows, so will its forage base size. Time will tell. That bass is liable to weigh 2 lbs by next spring! Lord knows hes got plenty to eat and hopefully has an appetite for BHC.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, FHM, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia and apparently, now crappie.

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