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#507142 - 06/10/19 10:20 AM HBG Recruitment Culling Needs to begin...I think?
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1599
Loc: West Central Missouri
I'm looking for the forums to back me up on this culling plan for my HBG pond...

Some details -

My 500 HBG were stocked last spring (2018) and are doing very well (largest to date is 1/2 pound). The 40 HSB that were stocked to help control recruitment are also doing very well (largest to date has a mouth gape of 1-1/4").

My clover leaf trap has collected some of last years recruitment that are larger than the mouth gapes of my HSB (measured at the widest width - anal fin to dorsal).

My pond still has ample FHM schools which the HSB seem to prefer and it also has a strong population of crawdads. I consider the pond to be very fertile (maybe a bit too fertile).

My plan - to remove all HBG caught in the trap that exceed the mouth gape of the HSB (maybe even remove some that are close but still on the smaller side).

Can anybody add or take away from my thoughts? Anything else to consider?

The goal is to grow some big HBG, ladder stock the HSB and remove a few HSB a year for table fare. I'm not sure what I will do as the HBG tap out from age, but for right now...I don't think I need any recruitment that gets bigger than the HSB will eat.
_________________________
Fish on!,
Noel

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#507143 - 06/10/19 10:25 AM Re: HBG Recruitment Culling Needs to begin...I think? [Re: Quarter Acre]
SetterGuy Offline


Registered: 10/30/13
Posts: 1542
Loc: NE Missouri
I agree with your plan. HBG have proven to be pretty prolific in my BOW. I think they have crossed with my RES, which is producing some interesting fish, but too many of them. My HSB and SMB are not close to keeping up. The trap is helping. They readily come into the trap.
_________________________
5 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (way too many), SMB, and HSB (rumored..)
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.

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#507151 - 06/10/19 12:18 PM Re: HBG Recruitment Culling Needs to begin...I think? [Re: Quarter Acre]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1210
Loc: Louisiana
Only thing I would add is to remove every identifiable female you catch...regardless of size.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!

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#507212 - 06/11/19 12:29 PM Re: HBG Recruitment Culling Needs to begin...I think? [Re: Quarter Acre]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1599
Loc: West Central Missouri
Thanks guys! I guess I should start studying up on how to sex juvenile HBG! And, the original stockers are big enough to eat, so maybe some table fare will come from my occasional catching of the larger females.

I have no idea how many can be removed before setting the trap seems fruitless, but I figure that I can tend to it especially well on the weekends and see what that produces. My initial tests on my homemade trap caught YOY HBG and crawdads at a ratio of 4 fish to 10 crawdads in an hour or two. For this reason, I am afraid to leave the trap submerged for more than a few hours at a time, thinking the crawdads might suffer.
_________________________
Fish on!,
Noel

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#510816 - 08/27/19 04:04 PM Re: HBG Recruitment Culling Needs to begin...I think? [Re: Quarter Acre]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1599
Loc: West Central Missouri
I started last Sunday with a short trip to the pond with a pole that turned into an 8 hour pond day...

I have, now, removed about 60 HBG or HBG/RES crosses that were too big for my HSB to eat. It's amazing how many of the 3 to 5" fish look different from the bulk of the culled fish. I do not think that I have removed any pure RES, however. The panfish were stocked in a CC pond that has stunted and gets no attention, maybe snacks for the CC, but hopefully some will produce some forage.

I have also culled 50 crawdads in the 4 to 5" range (nose to tail tip). These were taken to a neighbor's pond who allows me to fish there with the hopes of seeding the pond. He does not have much rock for them, so they may have become snacks for his LMB. Either way, it was better than putting them in the mostly dry creek for the raccoons.

I also added one LMB (1.3 pounds)to my pond along with one crappie (0.3 pounds), for kicks, and the LMB should grow stupid fast on the overabundance of larger craws that my HSB seem to be ignoring to date.



Attachments
craws.jpg (139 downloads)



Edited by Quarter Acre (08/27/19 04:11 PM)
_________________________
Fish on!,
Noel

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#510821 - 08/27/19 05:14 PM Re: HBG Recruitment Culling Needs to begin...I think? [Re: Quarter Acre]
RStringer Online   content


Registered: 06/06/18
Posts: 353
Loc: Parsons KS
Those are nice size crawdads. I will see them around the pond but not very many that size.
_________________________
The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag.

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#510825 - 08/27/19 05:37 PM Re: HBG Recruitment Culling Needs to begin...I think? [Re: Quarter Acre]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1599
Loc: West Central Missouri
I stocked them (about 300, all under 3", a few too many - maybe) the first and second year of the pond with only FHM's and the initial stocking of small gamefish. I think they out grew the gamefish's gape. Surely they are producing alot of small craw forage, but, I think they are also contributing to a muddy pond. I was cast netting them off the bottom in 7 foot of water and along the banks...they are everywhere.
_________________________
Fish on!,
Noel

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#510833 - 08/27/19 07:27 PM Re: HBG Recruitment Culling Needs to begin...I think? [Re: Quarter Acre]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 378
Loc: Texas
QA,

I hope that you enjoy eating those crawfish, they look amazing. Love the blue claws on them. I remember you collected them locally, are they Northern crayfish, Orconectes virilis?

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#510834 - 08/27/19 07:46 PM Re: HBG Recruitment Culling Needs to begin...I think? [Re: Quarter Acre]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 378
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: Quarter Acre


My plan - to remove all HBG caught in the trap that exceed the mouth gape of the HSB (maybe even remove some that are close but still on the smaller side).

Can anybody add or take away from my thoughts? Anything else to consider?

The goal is to grow some big HBG, ladder stock the HSB and remove a few HSB a year for table fare. I'm not sure what I will do as the HBG tap out from age, but for right now...I don't think I need any recruitment that gets bigger than the HSB will eat.


I like your plan.

As for the HBG is there a chance you might be able to source in the 4 to 5 in length? One approach could be cycle approach in combination with the HSB. You have already started the HSB on a cycle where you are now harvesting a few each year. In the next to the last year of the cycle stock your next cycle of HBG and HSB at the same time in sizes 5" or larger. This would have the benefit of having fewer large HSB at the time of re-stocking.

If you hand feed and are not eating your Fx culls, maybe you can dice them up and feed the HSB and HBG some fish along with the feed. The crayfish should clean up anything leftover!


Edited by jpsdad (08/27/19 08:05 PM)

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#510837 - 08/27/19 08:58 PM Re: HBG Recruitment Culling Needs to begin...I think? [Re: Quarter Acre]
Shorty Offline
Lunker

Registered: 07/28/05
Posts: 4396
Loc: Raymond, NE
Northern crayfish may help keep HBG recruitment down. From the "Crayfish of Nebraska" publication.

Quote:
Northern crayfish will eat fish eggs and sac-fry. One study tested the impact of egg predation of Northern crayfish on pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus) and bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) in ponds. In densely vegetated ponds, pumpkinseed had delayed reproduction and lower young-of-year biomass due to crayfish predation. In less vegetated ponds, crayfish prevented bluegill reproduction except in crayfish proof exclosures.50

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#510853 - 08/28/19 08:09 AM Re: HBG Recruitment Culling Needs to begin...I think? [Re: jpsdad]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1599
Loc: West Central Missouri
Originally Posted By: jpsdad
QA,

I hope that you enjoy eating those crawfish, they look amazing. Love the blue claws on them. I remember you collected them locally, are they Northern crayfish, Orconectes virilis?


I haven't eaten any yet...I do like to, but it's going to take a friend's influence to dedicate the time to prepare them...I'm no cook! The last culling went to a friend pond as a returned favor.

I have ID'd them as the northern virile (Orconectes virilis)to the best of my ability.

Originally Posted By: jpsdad


I like your plan.

As for the HBG is there a chance you might be able to source in the 4 to 5 in length? One approach could be cycle approach in combination with the HSB. You have already started the HSB on a cycle where you are now harvesting a few each year. In the next to the last year of the cycle stock your next cycle of HBG and HSB at the same time in sizes 5" or larger. This would have the benefit of having fewer large HSB at the time of re-stocking.

If you hand feed and are not eating your Fx culls, maybe you can dice them up and feed the HSB and HBG some fish along with the feed. The crayfish should clean up anything leftover!


I have not actually set a firm plan for continuing the fish populations in my pond. I will be ladder stocking the HSB probably, but at this point I'm not seeing too many panfish recruits, the HSB seem to be keeping up with that well, and if the crawdads are reducing successful spawns like shorty pointed out (I had not thought of that and my pond is definatley "less vegetated" proabably due tot the craws), then all is well at this point. I have not eaten any fish from the pond at this point...I plan to when the HBG start getting to the pound mark. My fish supplier said he would have 8-10" HSB this fall and I will likely a add couple pounds worth and then start eating them next year. Although, they have proven to be hard to catch...I may just have to fish for them more...that would be a good thing!

I have thought about dicing up the culled panfish and feeding back to the pond, but have not done so yet. The HSB rarely show themselves at feeding time, the time to dice and toss is hard to dedicate (a hand cranked culled fish processor would be cool), and I worry about my water quality and don't want to risk it (I'm mostly lazy and my neighbors pond can use the help). You are absolutely right though about the craws cleaning them up...I was fishing on the bottom with corn last weekend just in case there was carp in the pond (at least one hitchhiked in with the FHM's) AND the crawdads kept me very busy...one every 5 to 10 minutes.
_________________________
Fish on!,
Noel

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#510858 - 08/28/19 11:32 AM Re: HBG Recruitment Culling Needs to begin...I think? [Re: Shorty]
Bocomo Offline


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1229
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)
Originally Posted By: Shorty
Northern crayfish may help keep HBG recruitment down. From the "Crayfish of Nebraska" publication.

Quote:
Northern crayfish will eat fish eggs and sac-fry. One study tested the impact of egg predation of Northern crayfish on pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus) and bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) in ponds. In densely vegetated ponds, pumpkinseed had delayed reproduction and lower young-of-year biomass due to crayfish predation. In less vegetated ponds, crayfish prevented bluegill reproduction except in crayfish proof exclosures.50


Isn't biology crazy?

Without LMB bluegill will overpopulate and stunt except if there are abundant crayfish and few weeds. In this scenario if you introduce LMB they'd decimate the crays and the BG population would increase despite having introduced their number 1 apex predator.
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Our old pond project (updated 4/11/17)
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#510862 - 08/28/19 12:42 PM Re: HBG Recruitment Culling Needs to begin...I think? [Re: Bocomo]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1599
Loc: West Central Missouri
Originally Posted By: Bocomo
Isn't biology crazy?


Just to make it a bit more nuts...right wrong or different...I added one LMB, thinking that a reduction in craws would help clear the water so that I can access recruitment better. I hope the LMB like the crawdads more and leaves the HBG young to the HSB. I really hope my recruitment is as low as I think and the reduction in craws improves clarity and supplies the HSB more HBG forage. I have chosen to work on the clarity and not worry as much about the HSB benefiting from the craws. I feel like I am rattling on and on and if I continue to so...I will make a full circle and wonder where I went wrong!
_________________________
Fish on!,
Noel

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