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#506437 - 05/24/19 12:15 PM Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish
SWMO 2 Offline


Registered: 05/01/19
Posts: 49
Loc: Missouri
I manage a 1.25 acre pond in southern Missouri, max depth is around 10 ft. It has over 12 species of fish in some quantity but the only ones with sizable populations include largemouth bass, sunfish ( green, longear, hybrid, bluegill ), crappie, and channel catfish. Here is the problem, the bass are vastly overpopulated, so much so that this year so far out of 50+ fishing trips there I have only caught 3 largemouth ( and one spotted bass ) over a pound in weight. Over the past years we have culled a lot of bass out but there appears to not even be a dent in the population as you still see them up shallow and you can still catch tons of them. The sunfish population is low due in part to the original owner only stocking hybrid sunfish. I have added 80+ sunfish of all types in the 3-7 inch range but so far it does not appear to have made an impact. The other issue is the catfish, there are a few 20+ pound channel cats in there as well as some smaller ones. I think they are eating a lot of the bluegill and bigger bass. I am running jug lines to get them out but so far all I have caught is some 2-3 pounders. All catfish are kept and none are thrown back or added. What else should I so? The pic is the actual/relative weights from 2018, I have not sampled the relative weight yet this year.


Attachments
Screenshot_20190503-153417.jpg (333 downloads)



Edited by SWMO 2 (05/24/19 12:17 PM)
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#506443 - 05/24/19 01:21 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
jludwig Offline


Registered: 05/14/11
Posts: 1515
Loc: Central Kansas
What's the end goal for this pond? Is the owner willing to pump it down and nuke it to start over?

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#506446 - 05/24/19 02:06 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
SWMO 2 Offline


Registered: 05/01/19
Posts: 49
Loc: Missouri
Draining the pond and or killing it off are both 100% not ever going to happen. The goal is to get a good ammount of bass up to over a pound in weight. We are not looking for monster bass just a good ammount of 1+ pound fish.
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bucket stock......anything

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#506449 - 05/24/19 04:06 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
BrianL Offline


Registered: 03/31/14
Posts: 831
Loc: Paris, TX
You can do an electrofishing and cull many more fish that you currently are doing, or get a net seine net and drag it and cull that way. my guess you need to remove about 100+ #s of bass.

Just FYI, draining and killing off is just usually faster and can be cheaper to get to where you want to be, but you can probably do it by culling.


Edited by BrianL (05/24/19 04:12 PM)
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#506453 - 05/24/19 05:15 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
Bocomo Offline


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1229
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)
You can cull your way to where you want to be. It will take years. But I did it with our 2.2 ac puddle. See below in signature.
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#506454 - 05/24/19 05:43 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
SWMO 2 Offline


Registered: 05/01/19
Posts: 49
Loc: Missouri
I just got back from there, I had a big catfish get off of my jug as I was pulling it up. I also saw some longear sunfish up on beds shallow. Bocomo, good thread there, the overall important things I am seeing are to get the catfish out, and cull about every bass I catch. As for adding more sunfish, should I stick to bluegill or are longears and greens okay too?
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bucket stock......anything

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#506456 - 05/24/19 05:57 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
BrianL Offline


Registered: 03/31/14
Posts: 831
Loc: Paris, TX
It is my understanding that bluegill reproduce better and more often.
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1.8 acre pond with FHM(gone), CNBG, RES, HSB, and LMB
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#506491 - 05/25/19 01:43 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
KW35 Offline


Registered: 09/30/18
Posts: 18
Loc: Wichita, KS
Depending on where in MO, me and a couple buddies would not mind putting a dent in your channel cat population via rod/reel and trotline. Even clean them up for you - great table fare!

I wish I had a 20+ pound channel cat problem!

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#506492 - 05/25/19 04:24 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
Originally Posted By: SWMO 2
I just got back from there, I had a big catfish get off of my jug as I was pulling it up. I also saw some longear sunfish up on beds shallow. Bocomo, good thread there, the overall important things I am seeing are to get the catfish out, and cull about every bass I catch. As for adding more sunfish, should I stick to bluegill or are longears and greens okay too?


I have all three species in my pond. BG outproduce LES and GSF 1000 to 1. I'm having to trap out BG YOY to thin them out because I dont have enough predators to keep them in check. I throw back anything over 3" and feed the rest to my Black Soldier Fly generator. Haven't caught the first LMB fry this year, so I'm gonna have to bucket stock a few more. Haven't seen any RES either, so as soon as the Sabine gets back in its banks I'll be trying to bucket stock some more of those too.
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#506497 - 05/25/19 06:22 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
Vortex 4 Offline


Registered: 11/28/16
Posts: 192
Loc: Texas
I'm with jludwig. You have a lot going on in a small pond. Don't dismiss using Rotenone to kill what you have. As long as there isn't a creek or other source of random fish, you'll be able to start from scratch and have a manageable situation going forward.

Your stunted bass are probably old. No matter what you do they have limited potential to grow.

This might be an opportunity to hire a fisheries biologist. He (not many shes in that business?) can give advice and if Rotenone is the answer apply it. Then set up a stocking sequence to meet your goals.


Edited by Vortex 4 (05/26/19 08:18 AM)
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4 acre pond 32 ft deep within East Texas (Livingston) timber ranch. Filled (to the top of an almost finished dam) by Hurricane Harvey 9/17. Stocked with FHM, CNBG, RES 10/17. Added 35lbs RSC 3/18. 400 N LMB fingerlings 6/18

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#506503 - 05/25/19 10:17 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: Vortex 4]
SWMO 2 Offline


Registered: 05/01/19
Posts: 49
Loc: Missouri
I personally would do a compleat drain, and restock but the folks whos pond it is are 100% against that option. It also is in a residential area and the sight/smell of a drained pond and alot of dead fish would not go over too well. That being said I am a bit limited in what I can do. One thing I neglected to mention that may be important is that there is substantial weed growth over at least 50-60% of the pond in the summer if that makes and impact. I am still running the jug lines but the turtles keep getting the bait before the fish do.
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bucket stock......anything

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#506532 - 05/26/19 11:24 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
cb100 Offline


Registered: 12/19/14
Posts: 169
Loc: lake co calif
I have some large cc in my one acre pond I buy hotdogs on sale cut them into pieces and toss them in one at a time. The bass get the first ones until they get full then the large cats(15-28lbs) come in to feed. If I want to catch them I just put a chunk on a hook with no weight and toss it out get one on within seconds. You might find it so much fun to watch that you might decide to keep them.

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#506533 - 05/26/19 11:29 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
cb100 Offline


Registered: 12/19/14
Posts: 169
Loc: lake co calif
Another side note is I am getting them to ingest some of my fa while they are feeding. If I have mats of fa I toss the food onto it and the cats will suck it in with the food.

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#506539 - 05/27/19 09:58 AM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
SWMO 2 Offline


Registered: 05/01/19
Posts: 49
Loc: Missouri
Caught an 8# channel cat on the jug lines this morning. It is slow going but I am getting them out. I also took out the last of the smallmouth bass today. That fish was the worst looking smallmouth I had ever seen, it was very skinny and just not healthy.
_________________________
bucket stock......anything

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#506593 - 05/28/19 11:29 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
catmandoo Offline
Moderator
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Field Correspondent

Lunker

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 5697
Loc: Hampshire Co., WV
SWM,

I came to Pond Boss a number of years ago. I needed help because of multiple huge channel catfish that had totally overwhelmed and unbalanced a 0.75 acre pond on a new homestead we moved onto.

The new homestead didn't have quite the issues you are experiencing with your multitude of bucket stocked fish types. Our pond just had bluegill, largemouth bass, black crappie, four monster grass carp, and a bunch of big unruly channel catfish.

I got a lot of good advice here. I became very active with the Pond Boss community, and subscribed to Pond Boss Magazine. I was befriended by many other members, including the Pond Boss owners -- Bob Lusk and Mike Otto. This involvement gave me an invaluable pond management education from the best of the very best.

I greatly enjoyed raising trophy bluegill for quite a few years following the solid advice I got here. We carefully managed and enjoyed the channel cats. (I smoked about a three pound channel catfish fillet earlier this evening. It will become delicious spread/dip tomorrow.)

We added golden and rainbow trout each autumn. We added hybrid striped bass about every two years.

Two seasons ago we moved from the WV mountain homestead into a city home about 15 miles away in Virginia. With the move, I stopped managing the ponds. Both of my ponds are now way out of balance. The channel cats have again become overwhelming and dominant. The bass and bluegill are small.

I too would agree with the others that it would be best to start over by eliminating the fish population with rotenone, or possibly with lime. Besides the catfish issues, you've got a mess of different kinds of fish that spawn at different times and quickly become predators of the next types of fish that will start to spawn.

I dont believe you can easily get the pond under control without draining it down. You could selectively seine it out when very low, but you will still have a lot of mutt fish that will continue to cause management problems.

Determine you pond goals. Restock from a reputable source. It will take a couple of years, but will payoff big time. Buy some of the Pond Boss books, particularly Perfect Pond ... want one?.

Begin the restocking with fish that will provide good forage for your top line predator that you will add after forage gets established.

Don't bucket stock.

Catfish become hook shy real quickly. Never throw any back. no matter the size.

Don't ever add more catfish to a pond each season than you feel confident you can harvest within two seasons.

Good luck. Dont give up. Keep us informed of your progress.

Ken
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#508080 - 06/24/19 10:52 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
SWMO 2 Offline


Registered: 05/01/19
Posts: 49
Loc: Missouri
My only update so far is no update, I have been out of town for a while. My neighbors have been running the jugs but have not caught any more. Still catching and culling little bass. I am only catching hybrids and longear sunfish no bluegill.
_________________________
bucket stock......anything

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#508081 - 06/24/19 11:30 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
4CornersPuddle Offline


Registered: 01/24/11
Posts: 296
Loc: southwest Colorado
Welcome back to posting SWMO 2. I've just reread your entire thread, and agree you have a difficult and very interesting road ahead of you.

Those big (20+ pounds-yikes!) catfish seem to me to be the first problem to address. You have been going at it. How about chumming them, same time, same place each day, getting them accustomed to a particular food. I suppose it could be floating or sinking fish pellets, hot dogs, dough baits. Whatever you'd like to use. After a few weeks of their coming to feed, start the slaughter. Don't try to catch any before they seem really comfortable coming around for groceries.

Then get several baits in the water at once. If you feel safe shooting at the pond, be ready with a shotgun or bowfishing gear, too. Be as stealthy as you can. They'll catch on quickly to the danger, so be prepared to be efficient, efficiently deadly.

After the cats are gone, some bass may have a chance at growing larger. Your bass culling sill have more of an effect. I successfully lowered my bass population over the course of 3 years by hook and line fishing. My pond is much smaller than yours. I removed approximately 200 bass out of 1/4 acre. This year I stocked 25 adult bluegills. It is likely that they will successfully recruit plenty of young.

The best of luck to you. It's completely up to you of course, but I'd keep and encourage the diverse mix of sunfish in your pond.

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#508226 - 06/27/19 09:32 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
SWMO 2 Offline


Registered: 05/01/19
Posts: 49
Loc: Missouri
Well there is at least 1 giant catfish left, I have started to feed them just so I can try to see how many I am dealing with, I had one 25#+ fish as well as a few little ones come in today but I just started feeding yesterday. On a side note I caught the one spotted bass today and it looked to be healthy and in good shape. Sorry about the cropped down picture but I had to make it under the 2mb limit somehow.


Attachments
20190627_203241.jpg (163 downloads)

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bucket stock......anything

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#508630 - 07/08/19 05:45 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
SWMO 2 Offline


Registered: 05/01/19
Posts: 49
Loc: Missouri
Tossed in 11 sunfish between 3 and 6 inches yesterday, 8 green sunfish and 3 longears. I figure anything is better then nothing.
_________________________
bucket stock......anything

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#508650 - 07/09/19 07:24 AM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
Clay N' Pray Offline


Registered: 12/03/17
Posts: 255
Loc: Caswell co NC
This thread has me rethinking my CC population. I have 20+ 3yr old CC that are getting large. I viewed them as another predator to assist the LMB in bluegill population control plus a trophy fish.

I have 6-8 LMB that are large enough to
Make a dent in the BG population. I dont think they can keep up without help.

This pond management stuff is all about foresight!!!


Edited by Clay N' Pray (07/09/19 07:25 AM)

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#508929 - 07/15/19 07:36 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 331
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: SWMO 2
Well there is at least 1 giant catfish left, I have started to feed them just so I can try to see how many I am dealing with, I had one 25#+ fish as well as a few little ones come in today but I just started feeding yesterday.


a 25# + CC fish is uncommon. If it is really that large ... it won't be in there for much longer.

It sounds like you don't own the BOW which is why starting over is not an option. Feeding won't help your bass very much. You'll mostly grow your CC and for every 10 lbs of Bluegill you grow that the bass eat.. you will grow 1 lb of LMB. VERY EXPENSIVE proposition (~ $30 dollars/lb).

You need more food for every mouth. But you don't need more food. What you need is fewer mouths. It says so in the title (Overpopulated Bass ...). Read Bocomo's thread on how he harvested his way to bigger bass.

Stay with the program on harvesting the CC. If they are coming into feed then use it sparingly to bring them in and fish for them then. Use 3" BG on a good sized hook and break open the gut to put more scent in the water. just let it rest on bottom they will find it. Crush your feed or presoak it so that it sinks where you are fishing and use cheap catfish feed for baiting catfish. Use live BG if they are hook shy (and time for sunset forays).

As for the LMB try to harvest a minimum of 25 lbs this year, you should see increased numbers of BG and LMB in better condition next spring. Keep harvesting, this BOW can probably sustain the 25 # harvest annually ad infinitum. You can increase harvest to improve the size of LMB or decrease it if the fishing is too slow for your liking.

You should track your efforts here or similar thread.

**Bump**

Starting next year I would consider harvesting sunfish species to reduce competition and hybridization of the BG. If they are small, cripple them and throw'em back to feed your LMB.

If CC are reproducing, figure out if the BOW owner has supplied it with spawning receptacles. If he will allow it, remove them.



Edited by jpsdad (07/15/19 07:55 PM)

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#509124 - 07/19/19 09:28 AM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
SWMO 2 Offline


Registered: 05/01/19
Posts: 49
Loc: Missouri
You are correct it is my neighbors pond. They don't really use it for anything, they don't fish or swim in it, it is just part of the property. It was built at the same time as the house, 2010ish i think. They pretty much let me do anything I want with it but draining it and killing it off is not really something they want to do. There are also some good sized crappies in there, they don't appear to reproduce or if they do it the bass eat all of the young. Would removing them help?
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bucket stock......anything

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#509394 - 07/25/19 04:23 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 331
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: SWMO 2
You are correct it is my neighbors pond. They don't really use it for anything, they don't fish or swim in it, it is just part of the property. It was built at the same time as the house, 2010ish i think. They pretty much let me do anything I want with it but draining it and killing it off is not really something they want to do. There are also some good sized crappies in there, they don't appear to reproduce or if they do it the bass eat all of the young. Would removing them help?


I think I would remove them. Count them toward your LMB harvest goal as they are also feeding on YOY panfish.

You never mentioned the size of the BG. Are they large?


Edited by jpsdad (07/25/19 04:25 PM)

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#509714 - 08/02/19 09:25 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
SWMO 2 Offline


Registered: 05/01/19
Posts: 49
Loc: Missouri
There were some massive hybrid sunfish but very few have been caught since last year so I am suspecting they were the original stock and are succumbing to old age. All the sunfish I stock do grow at a pretty rapid rate though. There are some fairly large hybrids that are trending back towards green sunfish again such as this one I caught today. Also sunk some brush last week in about 10 ft of water, willow and maple trees.


Attachments
20190802_202235.jpg (123 downloads)

_________________________
bucket stock......anything

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#509718 - 08/02/19 11:54 PM Re: Overpopulated Bass, Few Bluegill and Giant Catfish [Re: SWMO 2]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 331
Loc: Texas
That's a very good GSF. IMHO, I lean toward calling that fish a pure GSF. It is in the neighborhood of 9", perhaps a bit longer and over 1/2 lb in weight. In northern OK where I grew up, a typical stock pond had LMB and GSF. The GSF would typically grow to a max length of 10". If bluegill happened to be in the pond, they might grow over 11" and weigh considerably more(including natural hybrids of the two). Many ponds I fished had no BG and in these ... the LMB would most typically range between 6" and 11" and a typical GSF would weigh as much as a typical LMB. At least what I was catching on inline spinners. Those ponds I had an invite to fish ... I would fish for food. I mean I would go fishing to catch a mess to eat and I would keep any GSF or bluegill over 6 to 7 inches and any bass over 8". I fished a lot and ate fish most every week from Spring to Fall. Fishing from probably 5 to 6 acres of total water over several years, I never made much of dent in them and the LMB continued to remain mostly less than 11". I did notice however an improvement in the LMB in that they did not appear as stunted (eg the giant head small body syndrome).

If your BOW sounds anything like these, then a good harvest will improve the LMB condition. Even so, to really get a handle on restricting LMB reproduction you need BG in good numbers. What I am trying say is that it may not be enough to harvest only LMB if the LMB are getting off good spawns. They may replace a fair portion of what you harvest with new recruits keeping the competition at a high level. This why the first advice you received was to start over.

I enjoyed those old ponds and eating the fish anyway. I suggest that you do both as well and see where it takes you. To achieve your goal, I think I would harvest to favor the BG. Removing as many CC,LMB, Crappie, and GSF as I could and releasing only BG.


Edited by jpsdad (08/02/19 11:55 PM)

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