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#53729 - 05/14/05 06:05 PM Re: Can catfish control bluegill in small ponds?
Theo Gallus Online   content

Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 12493
Loc: Central Ohio
JB, let me see if I have this all straight:

The significant (noticeable) fish populations in the pond are GShiners and CC. There may be a Blue Cat, an LMB, and perhaps residual HBG and/or their descendants. Also possible are left over bullheads and assorted sunfish, but you're not seeing them.

This amateur will now take a look at the rest of your questions and submit my opinions for extensive rebuttal and correction by more experienced minds.

I do not feed them but want to start.
I am sure many of your existing CC and GShiners will quickly start eating feed if supplied. If I remember correctly, 6 year old CC should have years of life span left and will put on weight and size. GShiners will put on size and probably spawn better with added food. Feeding may also reveal fish (Blue Cat, sunfish, Bullheads(?)) you may/may not have (probably not the LMB, though).

Do I need to worry about the large number of golden shiners in my pond
Depends on what you want for the pond. I doubt your CC will ever eliminate the Shiners; they will utilize them for food. If the BC/LMB are alive & well they'll put some away, too. But I doubt you have enough predator aggressiveness now to dent Shiner numbers. If you add more predators, probably any kind you stock would make use of the GShiners as forage.

The perch/HBG population is probably down but not out, so should I worry about them?
After 6 years, the original HGB you stocked are probably all gone. My guess is that if you are not noticing any sunfish, whatever offspring the HGB or native sunfish have left in the pond are in such small numbers that, if you decide to stock a new predator (LMB, HSB, even more Cats), the sunfish remnants will remain under control. Also, if you stock regular BG for forage, small numbers of miscellaneous sunfish shouldn't mess up your gene pool if predators are around to eat any slender Green Sunfish or genetically inferior HBG descendants.

Considering my info, anyone wanna guess what the biggest crop of fish may weigh
I won't guess how much, but I would put my money on the Shiners as making up the biggest chunk of your biomass by a wide margin.

If I were you, I think I'd start feeding, fish more, and see what I more could learn about the fish in the pond. You have the potential of having enough problems (Bullheads, HBG offspring, Green Sunfish) to at least consider renovating if any of them show up in numbers sufficient to present a problem with your plans for the pond.
"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
-S. M. Stirling

#53730 - 05/15/05 10:19 AM Re: Can catfish control bluegill in small ponds?
JB Offline

Registered: 07/03/04
Posts: 32
Thanks for your help Theo,

That's what I expected to hear. \:\)

Thanks for the help on the feeder, I know what I can do now. I can make it work

Thanks everyone, JB
The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. Or I have been told.

#490451 - 05/22/18 12:06 PM Re: Can catfish control bluegill in small ponds? [Re: Jighead]
jpsdad Offline

Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 435
Loc: Texas
CC as the primary predator for BG isn't a natural choice. LB and other subspecies of bass have always been the BG primary predator and the two species have co-dependence. That is, they neither one do very well in the absence of the other.

I certainly understand how pond owners would want to focus on LMB as they are piscavorous at a young age and are better able to reproduce. My recent interest in catfish as predators deals with the failure of LMB-BG combinations in small public waters where I live. The failure isn't the fault of bluegill nor of the bass. These waters get a lot of fishing pressure and fisherman upset the balance either by harvest and/or fishing stress related mortality. This issue isn't just a public water one. I am sure some pond owners here have experienced poaching that has upset their best efforts to manage their fishing resource.

It would be great to hear from Theo as to the tangible results of his experiment.

I doubt ... but haven't yet formulated an opinion as to whether CC only predation might work. If it could, it would require that the biomass of CC be primarily of the size that predominantly eats fish. I would think that it might also require that the pond resources provide little food to the large CC except for the BG. For example, mussels might be in short supply in a successful pond or at least the easily harvested foods would be stressed enough to force catfish to hunt fish for their weight maintenance and growth needs.

It also occurs to me that CC that are consuming BG may actually help LB fry survival. In other words, could they provide a synergy that helps to bolster the population of small LMB by eliminating some of the LMB fry and spawn eating BG and improving spawning success? This may be less a benefit for LMB than for BG. Whatever the case, I would certainly like to see larger BG where I fish and perhaps a few of you might as well in your ponds. LMB are easy to catch and in lower numbers so they would be much easier to control in overpopulation than an overpopulation of BG. The only two BOWs I regularly catch 9"+ bluegill here in the city are also the best for catching large catfish. Perhaps a coincidence or speaks more of the bio-environment of the BOWs. In any case, if large CC help BG size the evidence would have to support the proposition by coincidental observation. Even if we can't be sure there is a benefit, we can't rule out a potential benefit. Perhaps it may be worthwhile for deeper investigation.

From my perspective, I simply don't have the experience to understand what might be an ideal combination of CC,LMB & BG or whether a CC & BG is feasible. It would likely depend on the fishing pressure and pond ecosystem. But certainly a predator which is difficult to catch with artificial lures and especially traditional CC baits would be very beneficial to many of the waters I fish.

Edited by jpsdad (05/22/18 12:28 PM)

#510723 - 08/24/19 09:54 PM Re: Can catfish control bluegill in small ponds? [Re: jpsdad]
Funky Offline

Registered: 11/07/15
Posts: 113
Loc: Midland, Michigan
I have been reading this line on CC and controlling BG. this goes back aways, and this is now 2019. So here is my take on it as I have four year old CC, BG, GSH and a few LMB. One, I do not see the LMB very often, I see lots of YOY but not much after that. My BG they have very good spawns and lots of YOY, they too are not seen much. I have caught three CC between 26 -30 inches and weighting between 10 and 13 pounds, they eat what ever they want, I know I still have at least two or three bigger yet, and hope they do not eat my out of fish. My pond is half-acre and 30 feet deep at the deepest. We caught plenty of BG and small CCs so there are still lots of fish, but still I have big mouths that get hungry and my pond is not over crowded with BG, just my 2 cents worth.
half-acre pond, LMB, HBG, BG, GSH and CC ....goal is to
have fun fishing. And I subscribe!

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