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#508708 - 07/10/19 10:17 AM Missing LMB
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1205
Loc: Louisiana
As many of you know, I have a very close relationship with the few LMB in my pond. Having only 3 until just recently, when I added a fourth. Through the spring warmup, I saw all three at one time or another. But now that things have warmed up, the original 3 have become MIA. when I feed in the evenings, I see #4 cruising in the ruckus taking advantage of the feeding fry, but the others havent shown scale nor fin.

Any suggestions?
_________________________
.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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#508710 - 07/10/19 10:36 AM Re: Missing LMB [Re: Mike Whatley]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1310
Loc: West Central Missouri
I don't pretend to know the habits of fish, but are they nesting and/or taken to cooler/darker water? Are they all in the same size class?
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#508734 - 07/10/19 01:35 PM Re: Missing LMB [Re: Mike Whatley]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 433
Loc: NW Kansas
How long had those fish been in there Mike? If they were bucket stocked, I'll assume we don't know age structure so maybe they hit the end of rope?
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#508735 - 07/10/19 01:53 PM Re: Missing LMB [Re: Mike Whatley]
Cole B. Offline


Registered: 06/09/19
Posts: 15
Loc: San Angelo, TX
My guess would be they’re probably just hiding. It’s summer and hot, and your pond is fairly deep. The only way you will know if they are in there is from fishing, so it might be worth trying to fish and see what you catch. It is unlikely all 3 died from old age at the same time, and if they died from anything it is likely you would find bodies. Also the presence of the 4th bass indicates water quality problems that would kill bass are unlikely. Bass are also somewhat terrortial and in my pond with only 5 large bass, they seem to have their own terrorities and if you see one bass you never see or catch a different one in the same area. Since your pond is fairly small surface area wise, I would just try fishing in the early mornings and late evenings and see what you catch. The one problem is bass get very stressed from being handled in hot weather, so there’s that.

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#508740 - 07/10/19 03:07 PM Re: Missing LMB [Re: Mike Whatley]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 433
Loc: NW Kansas
Cole, reason I asked him is because we had a cage full of 11 yr old LMB that were all between 9 and 11.5" a few yrs back. These were in a state impoundment that never produced anything bigger than maybe 14".
We shocked a few, netted a few and moved them into a large (12'X16'X 10') deep holding cage to observe feeding habits. After 8 months and going through the winter with no issues in the cage the first one died. Within 12 days all were dead.
We pulled Otolith and that's how we found they were all 11 yrs old. They can die within days of each other in similar size of similar health.
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#508751 - 07/10/19 05:58 PM Re: Missing LMB [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1205
Loc: Louisiana
The original 3 were bucket stocked about a year ago. #1 is a buck and about 13" now, and looked kinda puny, #2 & 3 are both sows. Last I saw either of them they were both over 15" and very healthy. When first stocked, they were 12, 12.5 & 13" respectively.

Last year when feeding, #3 had posted claim to the feeding/spawning ground as her hunting area, and would run the other two off, but now it seems #4 has laid claim to it. I have caught all three earlier this year, but havent seen them since.

With the pond as warm as it's gotten, I'm apprehensive about hooking anything and stressing them unnecessarily. Just find it strange that they've just disappeared without a trace.
_________________________
.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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#508760 - 07/10/19 09:43 PM Re: Missing LMB [Re: Mike Whatley]
Cole B. Offline


Registered: 06/09/19
Posts: 15
Loc: San Angelo, TX
Snipe- That’s incredible that such old bass could be so small, and also all die at the same time. I once heard Bob Lusk say that every bass has a limited number of heartbeats, so it makes sense they could all die at the same time if they’re the same age.
Mike- I would definitely find it strange if the “new guy” was able to conquer the prime feeding spot from the established fish. Since you caught all 3 earlier this year, it is possible that the bass are simply avoiding you, since they associate you with a hook to the mouth. My bass have definitely become much more wary of human presence since getting caught. My main concern would be the possibility of other humans having caught and taken your bass, if your pond is somewhat “unsecure” However, the only way to really know is to see or catch them again, but obviously you don’t want to stress and kill the very fish you are worried about (especially since you have already named them) One option might be removing the hooks from a crankbait and seeing if you get a bite. But if you have much aquatic vegation, It will be hard to discern that from a bite since the fish will spit or have the bait yanked. A topwater frog or popper with the hooks removed would be a good way, as long as #4 doesn’t just hit it repeatedly. Obviously you still won’t kbow the fish aren’t there if you don’t get a bite, but you will know if you do get a bite. Might be worth trying, I know I am constantly worrying about my fish when I shouldn’t.

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#508769 - 07/11/19 05:27 AM Re: Missing LMB [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1205
Loc: Louisiana
Hey Cole, thanks for the input.

The first three were actually stocked last summer, so they've had a year to set up shop. It is concerning that they've just vanished since they were mostly doing so well and growing, but in the grand scheme of things, they are tools to achieving my goal for having some really nice BG. They're whole purpose in life is to eat as many little fish as they can and make babies to take their place.

Their spawn this year was apparently unsuccessful as I've not seen any young bass, so that part of the plan hasn't materialized. If something has happened to them then they're not there to eat either. Both 2 & 3 are going to be eventually removed and released if I can ever catch them again, since they've gotten big enough to eat the BG I want to keep in the system. My plan is to give them another spring to try again at a successful spawn.

As for someone else poaching the pond, that's always possible, but not very probable as the pond is inside a gated yard, and patrolled daily by my dogs, two of which are 100+ pounds. Just their presence is a pretty good deterrent.


Edited by Mike Whatley (07/11/19 05:31 AM)
_________________________
.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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#508803 - 07/11/19 05:27 PM Re: Missing LMB [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1205
Loc: Louisiana
As it usually happens, as soon as I say something, something happens to prove I'm just a worry wort...at least partially anyway.

Today while feeding, either 2 or 3 (it's hard to tell them apart when they arent together) came cruising thru the feeders to take advantage of all the distractions. 4 was in there as well, which surprised me that the female would let it stay in the area.

I love when the pond gets its summer clarity and you can really see what's happening down below.

Maybe the other two will make an appearance soon as well.
_________________________
.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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#508808 - 07/11/19 06:29 PM Re: Missing LMB [Re: Mike Whatley]
Cole B. Offline


Registered: 06/09/19
Posts: 15
Loc: San Angelo, TX
Sounds like your only problem was not asking sooner, so your bass would appear sooner wink I think worrying about our ponds is most of the “fun” because it keeps you engaged and learning. Glad to hear your bass aren’t dead though, I would guess if one of the missing bass are okay, they probably all are. One thing to remember about bass is just because they are cold blooded, doesn’t mean they love the heat. Even rattlesnakes adopt the night shift during the hottest time of the year, because cold blooded animals need “optimal” heat not just more heat. This holds true for bass even more due to the effect heat has on the ability of water to hold oxygen. Just like when we go up high in the mountains and have trouble breathing, especially during physical exertion, bass have trouble breathing during exertion during hot temperatures. Where you live, I assume it is hot even at night during the summer. When it is hot, bass often seek the area with the most optimal conditions and stack up just like when it is cold.

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#508820 - 07/12/19 05:50 AM Re: Missing LMB [Re: Mike Whatley]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 1205
Loc: Louisiana
Itll be interesting to see how much this storm cools things off. Feeding yesterday was the heaviest I've seen this year. Sometimes I think these fish dont know they're not supposed to like hot water.

They dont hang around long tho. Fill their bellies and it's off to deeper cooler water.
_________________________
.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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